A New Life! Retirement at its Best 55

Wildlife in our back yard

Last Friday morning at dawn, the sun was not even up yet, I picked up my coffee cup to take it to the kitchen. Looking out to our back yard I saw, in a flash, a red fox running by our patio. How beautiful! I had never seen a fox but recognized it instantly. He was running towards the creek, parallel to the Divide, as I call it, a bushy tail straight out back. “Was it not a cat?” asked Mike, “or a dog?” Definitely not. It was a red fox! I am thrilled that, coming from Prescott Arizona, where we frequently saw javelinas and deer, and off and on a bobcat down below our deck in the back yard, we again have wildlife to watch. Other than the fox last week, I once saw two small deer drinking down below by the stream; frogs, some large, some very small, are jumping with a splash into the water of the creek or of the pond close by when I am on my early morning walk before breakfast. I have seen Larry flying by in a flash and heard the death screams of a little bird that he had caught in its sleep in the tree by our bedroom window. Larry is the neighborhood hawk, given his name by the former handyman who used to live in the cottage across the way when this retirement building with the cottages was being built eight years ago. Then there are the squirrels, mostly across the street, where the neighbor has bird feeders on two poles. Birds are everywhere, red, yellow, very small hummingbirds and more. It is unimaginable that all these creatures can exist in a corner of land surrounded by parkways and freeways. Most of this wildlife can only be seen very early in the  morning or at dusk. Very logical, because this has been a very long, hot summer with temperatures in the nineties. I myself have joined them, walking in the mornings after coffee, watching the sunrise during my campus rounds or evenings after dinner when the sun is setting behind the trees. It is cooler then, but always humid, which makes my hair curl, which makes me smile!

When I was a young teenager, my long hair was as straight as you can imagine. Living in Surabaya, in the tropics, I used to wear it in a pony tail. One day, aching for beautiful curls, I went to a hair dresser with my mom and got a permanent-wave. That’s what it was called, a permanent-wave, creating the image of beautiful, long lasting wavy hair. When I was done, it was a disaster. I have very fine hair, and the chemicals had created a bunch of kinky strands. To make matters worse, when we came home, my dad started laughing and called my pony tail a bunch of carrot tops! I cried hot tears. Mamma tried to save the situation and set out to wash my hair with shampoo right away to get the chemicals out, but the damage was done, and I had to let the “waves” grow out. And now, in my golden years, I live in a place where my hair has lovely, natural waves without any effort on my part. I do think back to my carrot tops pony tail every time someone says, “we are bright eyed and busy tailed” and the person who said that before every hula performance was my Prescott hula teacher Kumu Kehau. If you want to read more about her, you can click on this link or find it in the right margin of my website page under Memberships:  Halau Hula Napuaokalei’ilima  . I danced with her for eight years. Now this is story telling: how I got from a red fox in Cary, North Carolina via a pony tail in Surabaya, Indonesia to Hula dancing in Prescott, Arizona.

Strengthening my core

After many weeks of PT, first for my neck, then after shoulder surgery for my right shoulder, I had totally neglected my core, my abs and obliques. But since all those body parts are functioning pain free by now, with only slight sensitivity with stretches, I felt the need to do Pilates exercises again. I have taken years of Pilates and years of Yoga in my previous life as we say here. I like Pilates best, but always add some favorite yoga poses. On the premises we have a young veteran, who leads well attended chair exercises every morning except weekends, and brain exercises, and one-on-ones with anyone who needs extra attention for balance and the likes. He wrote down a set of five abs strengthening exercises for me to do three times a week and another set of five also three times a week. Last week I got out my Pilates mat, rolled it out on the living room floor and started my routine. Each day it takes at least a half hour, and when I add a few Yoga poses it becomes longer, but I love it. It does mean that I can only walk a half mile in the morning, but hey, it stays dark till about 6:30 a.m. anyway, and we have to go to breakfast at the Club at 8:00. So I walk a little shorter but make it up later in the day: my goal is 4.5 miles every day. Just imagine the luxury of having a personal trainer free of charge, right here on campus!

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,


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