Paul says I write too much. I can't help it. I can't bear to leave anything out. This is an attempt at a brief "club" update.
Hardy Hikers: This is the only club that both Paul and I joined. The hiking group heads out twice a week and goes between 8 and 16 miles each time. They are mostly Canadian and hard of hearing, so we hike along and shout at each other. I tried to teach them“stinky pinky” --a rhyming word game, and they liked it but they kept on trying to rhyme things like ‘rock’ and ‘hop’ or ‘poodle’ and ‘park.’ Most of them were electrical engineers or lab chemist, not professions that prioritized word play. They are generally smart and funny and on blood thinners (cardiac issues will become a theme). If the trail passes too close to a cactus, everyone bleeds for the rest of the hike. They are even good humored about the blood.
All the hiking trails that the guidebooks suggest are too easy for the Hardy Hikers. We like going with them because they take us to places we would never have found on our own. At a canyon pool on last week's hike I watched two dozen swallows dive at the glassy water. They swooped down and high-fived the water with their wings. It was beautiful.
Sewing Room: The sewing group is making quilts for kids in foster care. They are incredibly talented. I am not really "in the club" but I've hung out with them a few times as I attempt to make my own clothing (I'm two placements away from going completely Little House on the Prairie) . The sewing room has a big cutting table and a machine that you can "check out" from the clubhouse. I've completed a dress and a t-shirt, but I still have a couple yards of jersey that needs to be transformed into something.
The truth is, I try to avoid the sewing room when there are other people sewing. They chat disparagingly about other people's heart issues and their own medical appointments. It makes me feel like I’m eavesdropping on the pain of strangers. They've asked me to join the kids' quilts projects, but there's too many clubs and activities to join them all.
Bike and Eat: The bikers have one thing in common with the quilters: chatting about cardiac issues. The topic may be the same as the sewing room, but the tenor is distinctly different. Instead of "I couldn't leave the house because of my a-fib" they are all "I only went into a-fib once this week, so I decided to bike another 50 miles." The rides usually end at some fabulous brunch spot, which is why I call it the Bike and Eat, but they have no official name.
These cyclists are incredible, or crazy, or both. When I ride with them, I am challenging myself to keep up. Earlier this week, one of the other lady cyclists invited me to ride up Mt. Lemmon with her. It's a famous road cycling route of 25 miles and over 4,000 feet of steady climbing. We celebrated with a slice of pizza at the top. I'm certain our success is partially due to the bi-weekly butt-kicking the cyclists have lead me through over the past few months.
Chorus: Remember I said I joined the chorus? I was shocked that I was cast as a soprano and relieved because the sopranos mostly have the melody. The choir director would bang on the lectern and glare at us when we got the notes wrong. “Is that a flat or a sharp A there?” she’d demand, and I don’t read music so I didn’t know and couldn’t sing the difference if I did. Yipes! But anyone who knows me knows I love group singing and nothing could not dilute that.
The banging and glaring may have helped, because we successfully pulled off two concerts last weekend. The theme of the show was The Weather. My favorite tune was “Got the Sun in the Morning and the Moon at Night,”which is from Annie Get Your Gun. Several of the quilters and the hikers came to watch the concert and told me that I was a very animated singer. Here’s a quick video so you can make your own assessment.