Archive for May, 2012

The Lull Before the Storm

May 24, 2012

The Lull before the Storm


If you’re retired and have a summer home, you know the lull before the storm. I go up to my cabin near Flagstaff in the middle of May. It’s a lonely existence as most people come up starting Memorial Day. Today I’m the only occupant on my block. Well, there is a cute single man working on his kids’ cabin but he seems to be taken up with that.

           It’s quiet. No small loud vehicles (Pilots, ATV’s, etc.) No traffic of any kind except the school bus at 6:15 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. This reinforces my solitary nature, of which I was not aware until I got a cabin. I’m seen as a gregarious person: talkative, outgoing, smile on my face. But when I get to Munds Park, I change. I don’t call my friends and family as much. I quilt, read, write, watch TV and generally hibernate. Maybe it’s decompression after a busy winter in Scottsdale.

I got to see my lilac bush bloom this year. I see lot of tulips and irises on my morning walks with Sparky and wonder about the homeowners who plant the bulbs but aren’t here for the blooms. By Memorial Day, these flowers look scraggly.

I should take up golf again. Plenty of room on the course. There’s lots going on in Flagstaff but I can’t get myself out of my cocoon. I tend to do things like bake artichokes, which takes ninety minutes.

I don’t have a revolving door of guests during the summer. I have a small place. My kids will occasionally come up and I will keep my five year-old granddaughter for two separate weeks.  My childhood friend from third grade comes from Connecticut for week around the Fourth of July. A few friends visit from the Valley, but not many. I’m not sure why.

You will see me having meals alone at the Country Club or Pinewoody’s.  Feel free to join me. I go to the movies in Flag and the independent films in Sedona solo, too. I guess I just haven’t found that magic chemistry of a soul sister up here. I take it for granted in Scottsdale.

But starting tomorrow, Friday of the Memorial Day Weekend, this and all other summer havens, will be abuzz. Grandchildren will spill out onto the streets. The dog population will multiply by tenfold. There will be traffic but not enough to need a traffic light. Saturday kicks off the Pinewood Farmer’s Market, the sight of the only traffic jam in town.

I do have a friend coming up Saturday. It always takes visitors a day to calm down. When we sit on my porch the first morning, drinking tea and coffee, they’re ready to make plans. I lean back and encourage them to let the laid-back atmosphere of Munds Park seep into their bones. If they stay long enough, they get it.

Winter Weight Gain

May 15, 2012

Winter Weight Gain

In a Psychology Today article, Norman Rosenthal puts forth a theory of winter weight gain. He says that during the short and dark days of winter, the brain chemical serotonin falls to its lowest levels in the parts of the brain that regulate mood and appetite. I’m sure the feeding frenzy during the fall and winter holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day and Easter) also have something to do with it.

Since I live in Scottsdale in the winter time, it would seem that I could exercise outdoors:  walking, hiking, tennis, etc. Theoretically. But I didn’t. I packed on twenty pounds and now I have to lose them.

Some things help me lose weight in the summer. There’s no Yogurtland, Filiberto’s or MacDonald’s in Munds Park. The fast food option isn’t as available so I eat at home more.

Sparky doesn’t have a doggie door up here so I am forced to take long walks several times a day.

I’m physically and emotionally further away from the demands of family and friends. Although I’m lonelier, it’s an easier existence.

The question is how soon can Sheri start her exercise class at the Country Club? Guess I’ll have to use the fitness room until then.