The end of a rainy July in my southern Colorado sky garden…

After almost four inches of rain this month, my sky garden is a bit subdued this morning. Mount Mestas looks like it has a dollop of cream on top.

The Blue Mist Spirea is completely out now, but I’m afraid all this rain at once is giving my lavender some root rot!

The bumble bees are showing all my plants some love, but especially the Spirea right now.

Buddha is loving the rain!

And my late blooming magenta yarrow is finally catching up with its yellow brother…

This view from 2019 of the Spanish Peaks and the Sangres shows why we call it the “Sky Garden”

Our Circus Squirrel Performs!

The latest from our backyard garden melodrama. A squirrel just climbed up and started riding around on the new wind whirley-gigs that Mike re-painted this past week…

First she climbed this one but I didn’t have my camera ready…

Then she went up this one and started to enjoy the ride!

Next, it was up to the upper level….

For a quick run around upstairs!

Maybe she went up there for a better view.

Then she turned around, took a bow and waved byebye!

Divorce is legal? When did that happen?

Thanks to one of my readers, I just learned something fascinating about American history. You know how if something is legal today we assume it has always been that way? Well divorce is relatively newly legal in our country! Especially no-fault divorce, meaning either party could walk away for any reason. The modern concept of a divorce varies by culture and religion, but early forms of divorce were almost always only if the husband wanted it. I remember when I lived in Taiwan in the early 1980s, only men could choose divorce and then only he had all the power to decide whether to keep the kids or not. He usually only kept them if they were male.

The first recorded divorce in the American colonies was that of Anne Clarke and her husband Denis Clarke of the Massachusetts Bay Colony on January 5, 1643. The divorce was granted by the Quarter Court of Boston, MA on the grounds that Denis Clarke abandoned his wife to be with another woman.

If your marriage broke up in the 1750s, you had to obtain a private Act of Parliament—essentially, an exception to Britain’s draconian divorce law—to formally divorce. The process was expensive and time-consuming, so wife-selling arose as a form of faux divorce.

Until the 1857 Matrimonial Causes Act, it was essentially impossible to obtain a divorce in the U.S., no matter how bad the marriage or how cruel one’s husband. A couple could only be divorced by the passage of a private act through Parliament, a remedy available only to the very wealthy.

If you wanted a divorce in the early 1900s, you had to prove your significant other had committed adultery, abused, or abandoned you. By 1916, the U.S. led the world in number of divorces and in 1942, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Williams v. North Carolina that other states had to recognize divorces, under the “full faith and credit” clause of the U.S. Constitution. It wasn’t even until the late 1960s that Americans were allowed no-fault divorces.

If there was divorce in your own family history, like mine, the family was usually quite secretive about it. And as we all know, secrecy usually equals shame in our culture. In my family, who were basically Southern Baptist farmers in the Kansas City area in the early 1900s, I can think of three family secrets that my Mom had to really dig for when she decided to do our full genealogical history: divorce, marrying someone of the Jewish faith and severe mental illness.

My own 2001 Colorado divorce was quite quick and painless. We never had to show up in court because the filing was uncontested, meaning we were not fighting over assets and we had no children. We just filled out some forms, paid $99 and we were done. No muss no fuss, except for a few hurt feelings and the various biases and criticisms I experienced from others afterwards. One great side effect for me, my TMJ went away never to return!

Did you know that more than one quarter of Americans getting divorced in the United States today are over age 50, and most of those divorces happen after 20 years of marriage? Pew Research found that the rate of divorce among those over 50 nearly doubled from 1990 to 2015, and the attitudes of those Americans have shifted to feeling much more supportive of divorce.

Here’s my own conclusion a few years after my own divorce:

“Perhaps it’s mainly women who get stigmatized by divorce: “What’s the matter—couldn’t keep your man?” The assumption being that any man is better than no man at all. Come on—we can do better than this, people! Few marriages are matches made in heaven, and sometimes they truly need to end. Mismatched is no match at all. It’s only fair that after a mistake, each of us can try again to find happiness before it’s too late.”

Married or single: Do you still believe in love?

Did you know there are 128 million single adults in the USA today? That’s roughly one half of all American adults! As a psychologist, this topic has always fascinated me. Why do we choose to remain single or get married at any age? One thing is certain. The factors surrounding that choice have changed dramatically in the past 70 years in this country.

My parent’s wedding photo from 1951 in Kansas

I’m fairly certain my mother felt she had no real choice when she married my father at age 19 in 1951. Nothing in her world encouraged her to consider college or a career. Every woman she saw around her was married or getting married at a very early age, and safe effective birth control was not available. Single career women were quite rare.

Oh how things have changed! When the man I loved asked me to marry him at age 22 I said no. I said if I was to marry anyone it would be him, but I was far to young to even consider it. In fact I did not marry for the first time until I was 39, and even then for the wrong reasons.

Yesterday I sat down and counted up exactly how many years of my life I have spent single and married. Guess what? It was exactly 24 years of each, and Mike was the same! I enjoyed being single most of my early years, and my marriage at age 39 was no wedded bliss. In fact it was very hard on both of us, and ended seven years later in divorce.

I also resented the negative press single people got in this country back then. In fact I wrote an essay about that years later. It was in my first book. It was called, “I said I’m divorced, not contagious.” Historically, divorce was not something that was done in my family. My brother and I were the first to do it, so in my first book I thanked my parents for giving me a solid sense of independence and self-esteem so I could leave my mistakes behind and move on with my life as a stronger, more resilient single person.

After the divorce, at age 49, I spent a few years considering my options. Did I want to remain single forever? I studied the situation in depth and decided one of my fondest dreams in life was to believe in love just once and have it be a good thing. In fact, after I lost my job/career in 2004 I started my own dating service which I named “Intriguing Possibilities” an offline way to meet local older singles. In a rather convoluted way, that is how I met Mike, the love of my life and my present husband. We’ve been together for 17 years now and wouldn’t have it any other way.

I felt so good about it I wrote the book “How to Believe in Love Again” tracing my own process through numerous heartbreaks to genuine love trust and loyalty.

My point is simple. You choose and then stick to it, or change your mind later when you finally meet the best person for you to spend your life with. And you will know when it is right, especially if you are older and wiser. You will know who to trust no matter how many times you’ve chosen Mr. Wrong.

In an interesting coincidence, right before I met Mike I won this frig magnet in a white elephant exchange:

I rest my case!

What’s blooming mid-July in our Foothills Garden?

The answer to that question is just about everything I’ve ever planted! Loving the ubiquitous lavenders, yellow and pink yarrow, catmint, and volunteer sunflowers! We just deadheaded the catmint and Jupiter’s Beard this week, and had over two inches of rain so far this July on our ridge overlooking the Sangres de Cristo Range! Let’s hear it for the monsoons!

My Blue-Mist Spirea bushes on the right and left foreground are acting a little bit shy with just a few flowers so far, but all five should be full out in a week or so!

And this Magenta yarrow is in its first year, so its taking its sweet time to bloom. A couple plants got damaged by that late May snowstorm we had. The Russian Sage and Showy Four-O’Clocks are very late in blooming.

But overall, I’m quite happy with our results this summer!