Tuesday, January 22, 2013

#5 Hidden Valley & Fat Man's Pass hike

Today I went for a long and fun hike with Todd. He has a long gait and started off walking in front of me, until I let him know that I didn't want to feel like a submissive woman! We kind of laughed, but then as soon as we started up the mountain I was able to keep up.

After about 4 miles of rigorous hiking and great conversations we made it to Hidden Valley in the South Mountain area. We had so much fun playing in the rocks and pointing out nature's beauty.

 Shadow yoga, at dusk. I had so much fun playing with the camera and getting creative!

View from within...Fat Man's Pass.

I am no fat man!

WGetting goofy inside one of the other rock formations.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

#5 Hidden Valley & Fat Man's Pass hike

This afternoon I went on an 8-mile hike with Todd Kallmyer to a place I had said I wanted to hike. It's Todd's favorite hike, and now it's mine too, at least as far as local hikes go.

What a fun spot.

At first Todd had a very fast pace and I couldn't keep up with him. But once we got going up the incline, I was able to keep the same pace.

We had so much fun talking and getting to know one another on the way up. Once we got to the Hidden Valley area it was dusk, and was it ever beautiful. Reality is, I could be almost anywhere on this earth and I'd think it was beautiful, IF it were at dusk. (I tell my kids I want to be buried at dusk because it's so peaceful. That really freaks them out!)

Hidden Valley brought out so much of my creativity. I started playing with yoga-pose shadows on the rocks, seeing images of animals in the lichen,  and capturing creative poses with my camera. Todd joined in the fun too!

Monday, January 7, 2013

#4 Picacho Peak HARD HIKE

I love a hard hike, to a beautiful place, with great people.

Today I went along with David, on an Adventures 2000 group hike to Picacho Peak. I met some great people, had interesting conversations, and thoroughly enjoyed every minute.

And it was hard.

But I love a challenge these days, especially one like this--cold, windy, steep. But brief.

I can do anything that's hard, as long as I know it's not going to go on and on and on....
And if it does want to go on and on and on, then I'm OK with quitting!

Oh to be 50 and know when enough is enough....

P.S. Mic...age 67, did great!

Monday, December 31, 2012

#3 Humanitarian Aide in Puerto Peñasco

The boys and I, along with their cousin, Connor,  just got home from Rocky Point. In 2.5 days we built a house through 1Mission, for Minerva. She's 26, has three young kids, a boyfriend/husband that comes and goes, and lives on $35 a month selling tortillas and doing what babysitting she can.True poverty.

There were 35 of us swinging hammers, and over half of them were teenagers. How touching it was to see kids working hard, no attitudes, and actually enjoying manual labor. And it was 100% manual...no power anything. We mixed cement in wheelbarrows, and cut with handsaws.

The house we built is very close to a landfill and very far from the city. It's on a dirt/sand road in the middle of the sand dunes, on a lot she is purchasing from the government. We were told she is paying somewhere between $1,000-1,500 for the land. There are no utilities whatsoever--no running water, no electricity, and no sewer. Candles for light, 5 gallon bucket for a toilet, and water can be purchased in huge bins that sit on the ground at the edge of the "street."

We left Minerva with a house that stands at 11' x 22.' It is bare wood inside with no finish work. We learned how to pour cement, erect a wooden frame, wrap for stucco, and then stucco. Some of the families pitched in to purchase a few items that we felt were essentials, but seriously, we were so taken back by the living conditions we were leaving her with...AND SHE WAS THANKFUL.

My perspective about poverty before this trip is shattered. It's not about things so much as about opportunity. Rocky Point is barren and hot. The people who live there cannot survive on the land. They depend upon OTHERS, for tourism and fishing.

So in my world, the need to be independent is so important, and all the moreso now that I have seen how living conditions are different for someone who has to depend on others for mere survival.

Poverty is lessened by those who see and take advantage of OPPORTUNITY.

 The whole work crew. Families from Arizona, Idaho, Utah, and Canada. How great it was to have so many teens who were active and willingly involved. I didn't see even one discipline issue. So awesome.
 A good visual of the size of this house--smaller my bedroom, very far from the city, and few neighbors for support
 All work was done by hand, including mixing and hauling cement. The needed water was delivered in 55 gallon tanks in a pickup.

Framing, 100% no electricity for cutting and nailing.

 Minerva's house is on a lot she is purchasing from the government for approximately $1,500. The lot is very small, no utilities at all, and on a dirt/sand road. The town's landfill is visible. These are flies due to the proximity to the dump--on the newly installed screen window.

 Ian the roofer, mom nailing chicken wire in preparation for stucco.
 The house is 11' x 22' and has a room divider (to support roof). Two windows, and a door. There is no other interior finishing.

 Nate, second coat of stucco. Pretty artistic mud fun!
 The property has no utilities (no electricity or running water/sewer). The volunteer families donated money for a few extras: curtains, a camping stove, folding table, candles and a few cleaning supplies. Families brought blankets and towels.
 Minerva's children, personalizing the front landing with seashells found in the yard of the house next door.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

#2 Birthday Morning Hike

I'm a member of meetup.com. It's the most amazing social networking tool for those who want to be active and aren't afraid to meet new people. I've joined about six hiking groups, and can hike any day of the week with all the events that are scheduled. I hike about 3 times each week, sometimes with a meetup, and sometimes by myself.

The meetup hikers are amazing people. I've found them to be genuine, healthy, and compassionate about life. I like being with them, and I meet new friends with every event.

This morning was a hike called, "Lookout Mountain: Celebrate Teresa's Birthday." Vic, the leader of Fleet Hikers, posted it months ago.

What a beautiful morning! It never rains in Phoenix, but it's been raining for the last day. It was predicted to be raining for this hike, but there was a 2 hour reprieve, just the time needed for us to get around and up and down Lookout Mountain. Beautiful, and the desert smells oh so nice when it's wet.

Then all of us (plus a few extras, like IDA, who went running instead), went to Moon Valley Grille for breakfast. We filled the place and had the waitresses hopping. Nate even rode down on his bike, in the rain. I'm pretty sure that was about his mom buying him breakfast, not about getting to know some new friends! Oh well, I loved that he came. (and he DID get to know some new friends!)

Nate especially loved chatting with Eric (who is black, and according to Nate, is "prejudice" because he made a joke about the color of his skin being a problem during a flash photo. He liked that Eric is real. It's nice to have healthy friends who are role models to my kids... well, except for the part where Eric was teaching Nate the ropes of how to get a motorcycle license at age 15, one year prior to being able to drive a car. Nate was all grins about some of the inside info Eric shared. Oh boy!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

#1 Anticipation & Friends

My friend Scott texted me this morning that I should expect a delivery sometime today. Anticipation. I love getting excited about future events, but I wasn't sure if this was about Christmas or my birthday. As it turns out, it was about both.

The card read:
Merry Birthday...er...Happy Christmas!

Doesn't matter. It's all about the celebrating. I'm good at that.

My birthday is in a few more days. People keep asking me what I'm going to do. I don't want to have a big party, because I know that it will be a lot of work (for me!!!), and then it will be over, big letdown. And if I have a big party this time of the year some people won't be able to attend, since this is the holiday season, the season of double booking. I'm about to create a situation that could have disappointments like that.

So, I've decided to have mini-celebrations, and lots of them. That way I can celebrate for as long as I want, with whomever wants to join in, and we can customize too. Genius idea, I say!

So it all starts with this card and flowers from Scott, as a good reminder that at 50 years I have a  thoughtful group of friends, and they are all cheering me on into this next 50 years. Woohoo for THAT!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Story Behind 50/50

Turning 50 this year is a milestone, as I'm sure it is for most women of this era. I'm told it's the new 33! But I've had some bazaar reactions to this event. One woman I met at a party last week told me, "I'm sorry," and she was seriously grievous. Her reaction struck me...

I don't see my 50th year as anything other than a celebration. I'm celebrating a healthy body, healthy mindset, and healthy outlook. I'm celebrating opportunities to engage in life's offerings. I'm celebrating ME.

My boys are 18 and 14 years old, and they think I'm nuts. So I decided to make good of that for them. I'm document my 50th year formally, so that when they are done with PUBERTY and can see the world through normal eyes, they will see that their mom is "something else"...full of life, full of wonder, and full of SURPRISES. At least that's how I see me!

And just for the record, I'm not formally planning 50 fun things to do this year. I'm waiting for life to serve them to me. Let's do it!