Sunday, January 17, 2010

Desert Critters Around Me

Harris Hawk

Mexican Gray Wolf


Bighorn Sheep

Our resident Bobcat kitten

We are blessed to have plentiful wildlife in and around our state, including this little bobcat kitten posing in my front yard. (Mom is around somewhere close.) Bobcats seem to be having a banner season here this year. The javelina run in herds, smell a lot like skunks and its fun to see them, but not run into them! The Mexican wolf is far up in the mountains towards New Mexico, so we don't see them except at the Desert Museum. The Bighorn Sheep seem not to be that plentiful, but you might see one while you're hiking. We ran into a herd of them while in the Grand Canyon a few years ago. Harris Hawks hang out in families, hunting rodents together, perching on the tops of saguaros to get a good look. Not pictured are the many coyotes, foxes and the occasional mountain lion we see closeby. I hope I never see a mountain lion right in my neighborhood however. Some of my friends have, though. Yeeesh! We also have a multitude of lizards, snakes, toads, insects, hummingbirds, the roadrunner and more.

I love living here because I have to pay attention to my environment. Keeps you on your toes. Arizona is a beautiful place to live.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Not Too Old

So last weekend at the end of my nice long vacation, my husband and I met his daughter Jamie and their family at Lake Tahoe. Tahoe is beautiful no matter when you go there, but winter is especially so. Jamie's family was planning to ski the whole time and Les and I were going to sightsee mostly and just relax. I had toyed with the idea of skiing a little but I didn't have any equipment or clothes.

But the first full day we were there we drove up to Squaw Valley, the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics to check it out, take the gondola up to the restaurant, share lunch with the fam. I hadn't really planned to ski, but I was shooting pictures outside there and watching everyone having a great time skiing and snowboarding and snowboarding caught my eye.

Jamie is just learning how to snowboard and Gary and Ramon were also snowboarding that day. So that little tickle of interest started growing.

Jamie getting ready.

So many of my friends who knew I was going to Lake Tahoe and had only skied years ago said that they would personally never attempt skiing "at this age" because what if they broke a bone? Some of these women were in their forties! I love them all , but wow! One of my best friends ski races and she's in her mid fifties. I may be 59 but I just don't believe I should start limiting myself like that - I mean maybe when I'm 80 or 90. But common sense does rule. Would I start out on a black diamond hill with a snowboard I've never been on before? Of course not. Deciding I had to snowboard before I left Tahoe was a well calculated risk. But I knew that if I didn't do it, I would regret it for a long time.

Was I physically fit? Yes.
Am I fairly coordinated? Yes.
Did I want to learn how to do this? Yes!
Was there an opportunity to do it where I could minimize my risk? Yes, a class.
Did I have access to the right equipment? Yes. Thanks, Gary for the pants and to heavenly for the rented stuff.

So Jamie and I took a beginner's class at the Heavenly ski resort for three hours the next day while the boys went fishing. The snow was great. Our instructor gave us good instruction although I could have used more time on the beginner slope (like weeks). It was fun and it was scary, but scary really only because after I landed on every possible impact point multiple times, it was starting to hurt falling down. So I was motivated to stay upright as much as possible. But in the last hour we went up the regular ski lift on a green run and I made it down the last half of the hill only falling a few times. Yea! I snowboarded! I didn't break anything. And to prove I did it I have pictures. There's me in the blue, Jamie in the pink helmet. Do I look like a cool snowboarder? LOL

I don't care if I was 20 years older that the next oldest person in the class - I did it and it was worth it and I so appreciated my stepdaughter Jamie for doing it with me. She did great. It was fun sharing the experience with her. Now that the soreness has worn off, I would do it again in a heartbeat! : )

Try new things; don't limit yourself by using someone else's limit. Personal best - remember? Allow yourself the freedom of continuing to LIVE and EXPERIENCE life. Do you have a bucket list? Get on with it.