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, May 24, 2015

A day of my own

Rhododendrons, the Washington state flower
Here I sit this morning, listening to the birds singing outside, beginning my Sunday morning ritual: writing this post. Sometimes I wonder about the necessity I seem to have to follow such a rigid schedule, but here I am again. It feels like I'm cheating if I write this beforehand, or even get started on it before this moment. But who is making these rules? Me, nobody but me. And there are moments when it's easy to write, the words just flow out of my fingers, and other times I struggle to find a direction.

Last night as I lay down to sleep, I thought about this post, my only self-imposed obligation on Sundays and realized that I have created a prison of my own making. It might not seem to you that I am forced to be in this position, but I am, really, because I have created a structure that I must follow or my world feels as though it begins to unravel. Even when I was traveling to Turkey, I found time on the two Sunday mornings that I was elsewhere to compose these. I've written 291 posts so far, one Sunday morning at a time. In the beginning, I wrote my entire life story, one chapter at a time, until I got to the present day. Now it's just a stream-of-consciousness composition, with whatever is on my mind at the moment. On December 6, 2009, I wrote this to explain why I wanted to start this blog, and I just reread it to remind myself. It's morphed, as all things do, into something else, but what?

I know that often when I finish and review, edit and publish the post, I often feel better, more centered, with a tiny frisson of relief that I've done it once again. Created something out of nothing except the meanderings of my mind. My memories, my hopes and fears, and... whatever else pops up. This is Memorial Day weekend in the US, and today the Ski to Sea relay race will take place in Bellingham. This year is different: there is no snow on Mt. Baker on which the participants can ski the first two legs, a historic first. Usually it begins with a cross-country ski and then a downhill ski segment; this year they have changed it to trail running, but it will still start at the ski lodge on Mt. Baker and finish at Bellingham Bay, 100 miles away. There are still road and mountain bike segments, a paddle in a canoe down the Nooksack River, a kayak segment, and finishing up in Fairhaven. I might head downtown and take the bus to Fairhaven later on today to watch the first finishers ring the bell. It's a lot of fun but really a huge party, with bands and food and plenty of people-watching opportunities. It's cloudy but we have little chance of rain for the festivities. Yes, maybe that's what I'll do today. Take my camera a get some good shots of Bellinghamsters enjoying themselves.

Last week I made a rather significant purchase, but it's almost invisible. My MacBook Air was getting on in years, and the AppleCare that I like to have available to me couldn't be renewed. I love my laptop, and it has become my favorite computer of all time. I went down to the local Apple dealer and traded it in for a new one, with more memory but basically the same machine, updated. They gave me a credit for my old one and transferred all my apps and pictures over to the new one, and I picked it up the same day I took it in. I'm using it now, and other than being faster and more powerful than my old one, it looks and feels just the same. I keep forgetting about the fact that it's different, until I load a page that once took a while and now is instantaneous. I realize how much I rely on having both good internet connectivity and good computers when for some reason either one of those fail. I'm very happy with my almost-invisible purchase, since I spend a good deal of my daily life peering at the screen and tapping away at the keyboard. I'm glad to have a semblance of computer savvy, too. Life is good.

I'm reading an interesting book right now: Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (or Die Trying). Basically it's a book that debunks a lot of the anti-aging hoaxes being peddled today. It's a new book, out this year, and I got it from the library after waiting awhile for it. I like it so much that I might go ahead a pay for it on my Kindle, since I can only keep it for two weeks before I have to turn it back in. Bill Gifford, the author, is very entertaining and makes me laugh at some of his descriptions. When he mentions someone who has been trying different angles to stay young, I can look them up and read all about them. I didn't know about Suzanne Somers, for example. She gives herself daily injections of human growth hormone and God know what all else, all in a quest to stay young. She's now 68 and has written two books about her anti-aging techniques. She takes massive amounts of supplements, too.

Well, I understand some of it, I really do. I take supplements, too, but nowhere near as many, but it's all for the same reason: to keep things working well for as long as possible. For her it's important to look like someone twenty years younger than her true age, but I find myself quite content to allow the aging process to show. It will be interesting to see what happens with her in the next five years, since I notice that with every year that passes, my body has accelerated in its journey towards decrepitude. Not that I'm there yet, but I can see the inevitability of it. I've slowed down quite a lot, but I can still keep up with the moderately fast walkers on Saturday morning. There are always a half-dozen or so who walk fast enough that I would have to jog to keep up, but there are plenty who walk at my own brisk pace. The main thing is that I go out and attempt to keep up. Plus it's really fun; it's my own version of play, and if I've learned anything about growing older, it's been that if you don't use it, you lose it. So I'll be out there walking as fast as I can on my short little legs until I can't do it any more.

And for Memorial Day tomorrow, I'm not sure what I'll do. The buses won't be running, and the gym is closed for the holiday. If it's a nice day, I might go for a nice walk, or I might just relax at home and watch a few Netflix episodes of that new series, Grace and Frankie. This whole idea of releasing the entire season all at once makes it tempting to binge-watch. The comedy is based on the idea of four seventy-something people, two long-time couples, who have to deal with the fact that the two husbands fall in love with each other and divorce their wives in order to marry. The reviews have not been stellar, but it sounds like it might be fun. It also demonstrates how quickly our society is changing. I watched Amazon's series Transparent earlier this year and thoroughly enjoyed it. That one is about a man in his sixties who decides to come out to his family as a man who wants to become a woman. Oh my! It is really good and I'm looking forward to season 2, supposedly coming out in the fall.

My point, though, is that there's plenty to do if I want to hang around inside, or if I want to play outdoors. And then there's my garden, which needs a little bit of tending. It's coming along so well! I harvested my first lettuce and spicy greens from there, and I see that the strawberries are almost beginning to ripen. Yes, life is good.

And look! Here it is, another Sunday post behind me. I will go through it and make sure I didn't make any egregious grammatical errors, hoping that it flows easily so I don't have to struggle too long with any parts of it, and then hit publish. And I do hope that you enjoy the holiday in whatever way makes you the most content, whether it's visiting graves or remembering the fallen, or whether it's going to a party and being with friends and family. Everyone deserves it, and that includes you, my dear readers. Now I'm off to read the Sunday funnies on line and begin my day.


Anonymous said...

Oh, DJan, you do work yourself too hard. It's okay to start your Sunday post a day or two early. Why not? Lol

Rian said...

DJan, I admire your need for structure and I imagine it's a good thing - as well as your competitive disposition. I don't think I possess either. My older sister (when she was still with us) used to say that I was too content... that it wasn't a good thing. She was an Architect and very competitive. And she was probably right.
As far as *aging* is concerned, I'm afraid that I believe in eating right and exercising, but don't take supplements or use any anti-aging techniques. Aging is inevitable (if you're lucky).
And my techniques consist of more creative exercises than actual ones. Writing, sketching, water-color, pottery, quilting, cooking etc. I would add walking if there were any places such as you have near by. And if I had a competitive nature, I guess I would try to market some of my endeavors, but giving them away gives me pleasure...
Enjoy your Sunday! As you mentioned, there's always plenty to do.

Far Side of Fifty said...

You are a creature of habit...a very structured habit! AND that's okay!! Ack Ms Somers looks old...really old. I know oldness is hard to embrace gracefully...but she looks old.
I started watching Grace and Frankie yesterday...Lily T is wonderful...I have never been thrilled with Hanoi Jane but I am giving it a go...then I fell asleep...good thing I can go back and see what I missed.
Good for you getting your Macbook Air upgraded! You are worth it!
I hope you have a wonderful week...I am hoping for a no death or funeral week. :)

Linda Reeder said...

Well, if you didn't post on Sunday morning, I would want to know why!
I hurried to read this post before we are out the door for another round of NPA garden touring. I Indy 500 is on the TV, so it must be Memorial Day Weekend. I used to watch it faithfully, but know I'd rather be out in a garden somewhere.
Hope you are enjoying your day.

Gigi said...

Making rules and boundaries for yourself aren't necessarily a bad thing. And, if it isn't working for you, then you can simply change the rules! Of course, if you do, please let us know first, so we aren't sitting here wondering where you got to!

When I first realized it was Memorial Day weekend, one of my first thoughts was, "Oh. That means DJan's routine will be messed up!" LOL.

Have a wonderful week!

Elephant's Child said...

How nice to hear that someone else imposes rules on themselves. I certainly do. Rules which probably (make that definitely) don't matter to any one else but give me a structure as a starting point.
Enjoy your day. There is some garden grubbing ahead in mine.

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

I think it's okay to structure your own days. Admirable, to those of us who lack the discipline. And talk about "use it or lose it." I used to have tons of discipline and focus, enough to turn out lots and lots of work every day and deal with whatever other priorities I'd set. These days I still have quite a few priorities and obligations, but much less focus and ambition! I feel like I've retired to the land of the Lotus-Eaters. So I'm working on being more like you, at least in establishing a morning routine that gets me moving! (Working on it, not there yet.)

Arkansas Patti said...

If you did start the Sunday post early we wouldn't know but we sure would if you missed a Sunday.
I love your basic stream of conscious posts on Sundays. Keep em coming.
Can't believe the change over to the new computer was so painless. I may have to think Apple in the future.

Red said...

The main thing you're saying is to keep busy and occupied. Always keep learning new things. Look for younger friends. We're going to need them.I feel sorry for the people like Sommers who constantly do things to maintain youth.
Have a great weekend.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Write a book, as only a Sadge can.

Glenda Beall said...

I think I'll check out the book on ageing. I don't worry so much about my looks, but I'd be lying if I didn't wish I had fewer lines above my lip, I wish I could sustain the energy I once had. My mind works like a thirty year old, but my body refuses to react the same way.
I enjoy your posts DJan and I'd miss them if you stopped. I'm glad you have such good self discipline. Have a great Memorial Day.

Sally Wessely said...

I greatly admire your adherence to a schedule. I also would wonder if you were ok if you didn't post. I may not check for a few days because I don't even read posts on a schedule, but I'd wonder.

The book on aging sounds interesting. Suzanne Summers has carried her anti-aging to a whole new level. I don't agree with her injections and all that she does, but she obviously has the money to do the injections and take the supplements, so it it makes her happy, why should I care? On the other hand, I think she sells a lot of books to people looking for the fountain of youth and have no idea that they really can follow the routine she has. That part seems a bit mercenary to me.

Deb Shucka said...

I am so impressed with your commitment, both to the routine and to your writing. What a gift you've given yourself and those of us who rely on your words for inspiration. I'll be adding that book to my summer reading list. It might be a good one to talk about in October. :-)

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, I read this post last week on Sunday but (you won’t believe it) got so bogged down in thinking about my comment that I never got it put together. Well, it was just what you said in this post, “Last night as I lay down to sleep, I thought about this post, my only self-imposed obligation on Sundays and realized that I have created a prison of my own making. It might not seem to you that I am forced to be in this position, but I am, really, because I have created a structure that I must follow or my world feels as though it begins to unravel.” That was so right-on about the way I was feeling about blogging that I just couldn’t put all my thoughts into words. I sort of wondered, at the time, if you felt any telepathy from me. Ha ha! I’ve been on a blogging slow-down in May. I think the main reason was starting to feel like getting a new post done was more like work than having fun as a hobby. I’m going to continue the slow-down for a while and see if that helps. A very good friend, who does not blog, once asked me (over a year ago) how much longer I would keep blogging. : - ) I think a part of the answer has to be how long it can continue to be a pleasure. So, having said all that, I am glad you are “keepin’ on” … you’re an inspiration. Now, on a completely different subject, you asked a question a while back … “Train enthusiasts are almost always men. I wonder why that is?” That question really hit home with me because I have often wondered that myself. I wish I knew the answer! My guess is it goes back to our culture … little girls are given dolls, little boys model trains. As we grow up, boys want to be firemen and girls want to be nurses. I would love to see a post on Eye on the Edge about how you think your childhood culture has affected your life in the long run. Also, you are always welcome to email me with any questions or comments at jrcoast at gmail dot com. Thanks for sharing and for your comments on my blog. Have a great week ahead and take care.