This week, I'm on my annual trip with the girls at "Camp Big Sal" in Cave Creek, a sleepy little hideaway about 40 miles north of Phoenix. Well, it's not really a "camp". Rather, it's an adobe getaway belonging to our friends Mark and Sally, nestled into the hills of Black Mountain. Big Sal is Sally's nickname, and we named it "camp" so that people think we're actually roughing it or participating in some sort of fitness camping activity. But, we're not. Luckily, we have beds with sheets, running water, hair dryers and home-cooked food.
Each year, there's always some type of excitement that occurs along the way. Two years ago, there was a large animal that casually sauntered onto our patio and laid down to bask in the sun as we finished breakfast. Turned out, it was some sort of bobcat or maybe even mountain lion (that's my vote) that could have made a meal out of all of us and Sally's two black labs. Subtle panic set in, and my heart was in my throat, but trust me, you don't move quickly around those animals. We survived.
This year (so far that is), the excitement for me occurred on the airplane. While waiting on the runway for 30 minutes of de-icing prior to take-off, I got to chat with my seat mate, who was a young woman from Phoenix. I came to learn that she just had a heart attack in Indianapolis (where we were departing) while visiting her family -- and actually "coded" in the emergency room (yes, her heart stopped). Pretty scary stuff, especially when flying alone -- and sitting next to me. The potential of accumulating ice on our wings suddenly became a secondary thought in my mind. Now, I was now going over the steps of CPR, just in case. (next time I won't talk to my seat mate)
Midway through the flight, she put her head down on her tray table and nudged me. "I'm not feeling so well. I am very light-headed, she said." (great) So, she gets up and goes to the back of the plane in search of the "powder room". She then returns with a flight attendant and a big tank of oxygen with a mask. Yikes!
Naturally, half the plane was gawking at our row. But, it all worked out. No medical emergency, luckily.
For now, that's as exciting as my life gets. Thank goodness (considering the events of the past few months).
As I puttered along early this morning toiling on the elliptical machine at the gym, I looked out the window and admired the view (no bad view in Cave Creek!). The sun was up, and the mountains still had a faint veil of cloud cover, with fog rising slowly. Wow, this is true, breathtaking beauty I thought to myself. Now I understand why people who live in the Southwest don't ever want to come back. It's like being on another planet.
These mountains are a great haven and can make you forget about the worst stress in your life, if even just for a few minutes.