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, August 14, 2016

Halfway through the Summer Olympics

It sure was a good latte
I like to take pictures of some of the prettiest lattes that I am served, since once I've taken a sip, the art is lost forever. Whoever came up with espresso served with steamed milk deserves a medal. I rarely begin a morning without one at my local coffee shop. Speaking of medals, the Summer Olympics in Rio are half over today, since they began a week ago. I've been following them with interest.

Swimming and women's gymnastics are my favorite events, and they didn't disappoint this time. The USA dominated both. I haven't been much of a fan of Michael Phelps, but there is no doubt that he is a very talented athlete, having competed in four Olympics and earning 23 golds, more than any other person in history. At the age of 31! And then what about Katie Ledecky? The Washington post has a great article about her, with this excerpt (by David Sheinin):
She got there, at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, with a dominant performance — four golds, one silver, two world records, victories by unheard-of margins of 4.77 and 11.38 seconds — that left grizzled coaches, their fingers permanently curled in the shape of a stopwatch, unable to conjure a precedent. Because one doesn’t exist.
I never heard of her before the Olympics, but she will go down in history as one of the most amazing athletes ever, and since she's only 19, I wonder where she will go from here? She looks so average, standing there on the stage at Rio, but she is anything but. I wonder how much blood they took from her looking for performance-enhancing drugs.

And of course, my favorite of all time: Simone Biles! What an incredible athlete. I've been sitting at the coffee shop watching videos of her performances with my pals as we watch her in slow motion making the most incredible flips, twists and turns with her powerhouse of a body. She's only 4'8" and perfection in motion. She's already won several gold medals and will compete in the vault today. I can barely watch them as they take off running, it's so dramatic. I found this video on YouTube that explains the physics of what she does, with illustrations and even some video of what women's gymnastics looked like before 1952.

At any rate, I've been enjoying the spectacle of the Rio Olympics, and I hope you have been as well. Now that we are through the sports where the USA dominates, I'm hoping we will see some athletes shine from other countries. It's been exciting and amazing so far, hasn't it?

Summer is more than half over, too. It's been hot here, but compared to other parts of the country, we have only been "suffering" with temperatures in the low 80s (around 23C). Of course, if we lived in some of the hotter areas, we would have more air conditioning, which we don't. We have fans and our windows open, which allows the apartment to cool down to around 70 at night. Bearable, but I sure do sleep better when it's ten degrees cooler than that. As long as I have air moving around me, I can tolerate the heat.

And the days are definitely getting shorter. When I wake in the morning, the sun isn't already up with those annoying chirping birds. I love late summer and the entire season of fall, so I've got that to look forward to. My least favorite time of the year is the hot, dry summer. Last year we also had an extended drought and hotter temperatures than this year, so I really am not complaining. After all, I'm still able to enjoy the High Country every Thursday, and with hats and sunscreen, it's pretty darn wonderful. That same terrain we cover every week is buried in snow during the winter. No, I'm not complaining at all.

What else? As I sit here with my laptop and thinking how fortunate I am to have such a wonderful life, I must also remember that even as seasons change, so do my surroundings and my own health and wellness. It's important to take stock, something I have the opportunity to do every Sunday morning with this blog, and to be grateful for today and let tomorrow take care of itself. After all, I've been here on this planet for more than seven decades, and all those tomorrows have become todays without me worrying about them. Okay, maybe a little, but I'm trying to let go and just enjoy each day as it comes. I've had plenty of practice. Somehow or other, I got old while I wasn't paying attention.

I like this Francis Bacon quote about getting old: "Age appears to be best in four things: old wood for burning, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read." Age benefits some things, at least. One thing that I keep noticing as each day recedes into the past, each and every season brings its own joy and sorrow, and it does little good to try to hold on as it changes. I'll just watch the show and smile at my good fortune to be here now.

I don't have a yoga class this morning, so I can lounge in bed awhile longer before getting up and heading to the coffee shop. Even though it's only been six Sundays since I started that class, I really miss it when I don't have it. What a great way it's been to start the day. Instead, I'll go to the early movie with my friend Judy, who has had endless company and guests during the summer and finally has time for me again. We'll see that new Meryl Streep movie, which has gotten fairly good reviews.

And with that, I have written another Sunday post, and it's time to wrap things up. Right now I'm thinking about you, my reader, who will hopefully forgive me for being all over the map again this morning. When I opened my laptop, I really didn't know what would come out. Partner is still sleeping, it's quiet outside, and my tea is long gone. Please remember, as you read this, to take a look around and give thanks for all that is good and know that you are loved and cherished by at least one person: me. I'm sending you a virtual hug and giving thanks for you. Be well until we meet again next week.


Linda Reeder said...

I'm back home after spending four days with the kids at Rockaway. Now I need to rest from my vacation!
We were able to follow most of the Olympics events on NBC evening broadcasts, especially the BIG events, as deemed by the TV network, which were always saved for late at night. I am hooked on the Olympics too.
Today we are looking forward to going to a 4:00 Sounders match. We will leave early to take the Link light rail into the city, have coffee and sit and people watch. It was chilly and foggy much of the time at the beach, so more warmth sounds good.
I have downloaded all of my photos. I'll sort and edit and begin to post probably on Monday. I'm looking forward to getting back to summer mode at home - walking and gardening in the mornings, reading in the afternoon. and shedding added pounds from all of that good Tillamook ice cream!

Kailani said...

Jan, you are such an inspiration to me!!! Continue to have a beautiful Sunday. :)

Rian said...

Great post, DJan. Just got back from breakfast at Cracker Barrel and am now reading blogs. We are also actively following the Olympics... and the Gymnastics are my favorite, but swimming is up there too. Simone is unbelievable... so strong, sturdy, and what balance! She's incredible to watch. Thanks for the video!

Can't imagine not having A/C, but then it probably doesn't stay in the 100+ F much there. Your climate sounds wonderful most of the time. I think I'm bred for the South, but could do without July and August in Texas.

I'm with you with appreciating what we have... and grateful for the 70+ years of having it. We do create our lives (sometimes we have to compromise a bit), but that's OK. Enjoy your Sunday!

Marie Smith said...

For Canada, all of the medals thus far have been won by women; a sixteen year old has won four! Go women.

Have a great week, Jan!

Far Side of Fifty said...

Sending you a hug too! We have been watching some of the Olympics...not all...I find the Soccer boring along with Basketball....and this morning GOLF..yuk! I hope you have a good week! :)

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, You are so tuned in with the seasons and passage of time. I always enjoy your reflections on how things are rolling along. I join you in being appreciative for the good life in the Pacific Northwest. Hope you have a fine Sunday and wishing you a great week ahead.

Elephant's Child said...

Thank you.
Appreciation is a gift which keeps giving.
Have a wonderful day/week/life.

Carole said...

Sending the love right back to you DJan :-)

Loved the youtube. As women we have come a long way, thank goodness. I enjoy watching the gymnastics too. It is just amazing what these talented young people can accomplish with their hard work, determination and skill.

Our summer has been very hot as well, for upstate NY. We've had quite the drought, but rain relief is finally coming our way. Our farmers will be grateful!

Thanks for writing this blog. I so enjoy reading it every Sunday, and I am always inspired in some way from your words of wisdom.

The Furry Gnome said...

I've been enjoying the Olympics too. Can't say I like the commercialism or the way Brazil prepare for this, but the athletes themselves are always inspiring. How about that Penny Oleksiak for Canada, a gold, a silver and two bronze and she's only 16. The excessively hot weather here seems to have broken, and it's actually cool tonight.

Red said...

Hey, you're not only caring but a thinking person...thinking about life and all the good things. Yes, there are downers and you say don't let those get to you. I think the way you live it's much easier as the downers have a tough time getting to you. The man who applied fascia to my house is close to 70. His favorite saying was, you've got to keep active. He certainly kept active.

Barb said...

No Olympics for me - we just got back from an extended trip and didn't turn on a tv once. Even at home, we rarely have it on. We're thinking of getting rid of the cable which is an expense we don't need since we watch so rarely. Focusing on today and not judging are two of my ongoing practices. I still haven't mastered either, but I keep trying!

Anonymous said...

I had to laugh about your comment on the new Meryl Streep movie. Though I rarely watch movies anymore, David is a true movie buff. He told me he will skip the Streep movie, because he can't stand it when the singing is bad -- especially since he majored in music in college. I tend to agree with him.

Rita said...

The only Olympics I have watched was your video link. She is quite amazing! Women have come a long way in sports, that's for sure. Virtual hug right backatcha!! :)

Linda Myers said...

I haven't watched the Olympics at all, but love your descriptions.

Lynda said...

Hi - you write so well! Your thoughts on growing older and the way you have expressed this is how I am feeling. I'm trying to embrace this more and accept it gracefully but looking in the mirror (or photos) and seeing a person I don't recognise in my memory is sometimes hard. Like you, I have a lot to be grateful for.

Those coffees with steamed milk? I think you'll find we invented them here in New Zealand. They are called "flat white" here and we've had them for ages - I'd even go as far as saying we make the best too. Some of the pretty patterns on top are just a delight.

C-ingspots said...

I haven't read your post yet, just wanted to say this before I forgot. I REALLY love your smile!!! The 3 pics on your header? I love your smile in every single one of them. Such a genuine smile that reaches into your eyes. I like that. :) Ok, off to read...

C-ingspots said...

I really enjoy coming here for a visit and reading what you have to say. It's almost like sitting across from you, just listening. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, your life with us. It sweetens my day and gives me pause, and reason to smile. I so appreciate you!
The Olympics. Can't say that I've been watching much at all, BUT - that little gal doing the gymnastics is freaking me out! How can anyone contort their body to do those things!!?? I have enough difficulties just walking sometimes...seriously, unbelievable stuff she does. I sometimes wish I could watch the equestrians - the dressage horses move so beautifully! But, me being me - I also worry about what goes on behind the scenes with the training methods used. Ack! Boils my blood it does! However, I hope/believe that not all are like that and some really do love their horses and have their best interests at heart. Like the little English gal who just took gold with her big, black horse - forget his name, but they are amazing! And, the Dutch gal who quit early in her set, nodded to the judge and walked out because her horse didn't feel right. He overcame illness, was cleared to show, but she said something wasn't right and knew he would give her his all and he would suffer because of that desire to please her. Friends for 19 years - he meant more to her than a gold medal. That is what I long to see!! True equestrians value their partner's welfare over winning. There, I'm stepping down from my soapbox now...glad you're enjoying the Olympics so much! I love fall too and am looking forward to cooler temps, camp fires, sweaters. Sounds good huh? We're heading into another heatwave here. Temps up to 100 the next 4 days or so...sigh Drag

Optimistic Existentialist said...

The Olympics have certainly taken a strange turn the past two days,eh?

I wish you a wonderful weekend!

Anonymous said...

It is nice to go to Yoga which makes us fresh. Beautiful clean sky!