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Friday, January 14, 2011

Having Too Much Fun!

Did you ever have a weekend chock full of fun activities? I recently did. And because this kind of thing doesn't happen to me very often, I was just glowing when the weekend was over.

No, there is no new man in my life. But this was such a great weekend anyway, with a variety of fun activities.

One Friday afternoon, my new digital SLR, a Canon T2i, arrived. It takes fabulous pictures, without a flash, even under very low light. That evening, my daughter celebrated her 17th birthday by taking her boyfriend and another couple from school to dinner. I ate at a nearby restaurant to give them some space to just hang out without an old lady hovering nearby. Then we came home and the kids watched a movie. They then had cheesecake, and I lit a big fire in the fire pit in our back yard. The kids sat outside by the fire, snuggling under warm blankets. My daughter later commented that it was her best birthday party ever.

Saturday my daughter and I spent the afternoon in Santa Fe, starting with a stop at our favorite Native American-owned shop, where we each got a new turquoise and silver ring. Then it was on to the plaza for some browsing, a late lunch and a lot of photography with my new, very awesome camera.

Sunday we drove to the Wanagi Wolf Refuge east of Albuquerque for a couple of hours of interacting with the wolves and wolf dogs in residence. I took a ton of pictures. My daughter was given a special Christmas ornament filled with wolf fur (which she had plucked from Hokshila, the big timber wolf). I was given a framed poster collage of pictures of the rescued wolves and wolf dogs.

After a quick dinner, I headed off to Coronado State Monument in Bernalillo, to join a Meetup group for the annual winter celebration. It was a blending of Native American, Hispanic and Anglo activities. My camera was put to the test as I photographed some of the many farolitos (waxed brown paper bags, each with sand and a votive candle inside). The outside of the museum was decorated with lights, Santa arrived, kids took a crack at a pinata, and then the crowd gathered around a blazing fire awaiting the arrival of Native American dancers from the nearby Cochiti Pueblo.

After watching several dances, I was cold and tired and headed home. I was disappointed with my pictures, although some of them were pretty good -- just not as good as I had hoped.

I can't believe how busy I am since I retired and moved to New Mexico. There is a long list of places I want to explore, many of them within driving distance of home. I have always been such a homebody, so it's surprising to see myself on the go so much of the time. It's also surprising to be having so much fun.

A therapist friend told me recently that it isn't uncommon to see retired people suddenly 'finding themselves' and becoming involved in new and fun activities. I am loving my new life since retirement. My father has often asked whether I regret retiring. My answer is always an unequivocal 'No.' There is nothing about my job that I miss with the exception of one friend with whom I went walking every day during lunch.

There is so much natural beauty, so many historic sites, so many places to discover and photograph. I think I'm going to be having fun for a long, long time to come.