Welcoming Spring to the Colorado Foothills

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Spring can be subtle here at 7,000 feet, especially when we have had so much heat and so little moisture this past winter. Talk about mild, we have had only two decent snowstorms since October and very little measurable precipitation. But there are some much welcomed changes to observe.

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First of all the type of birds appearing at our bird feeders are changing. Not that I’m able to identify many, but I do know when a new one flies up.

Rocky Mtn. BluebirdAnd we see the Rocky Mountain Bluebird coming by more and more. Such a beauty! Mike built a bird house for these. Sure hope they make use of their new accommodations! And there are a few other newcomers to our feeders. So nice to see…

 

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In spite of the very dry conditions, I am beginning to see little patches of green along the county roads and subtle suggestions of future wildflowers.  These lands are used to drought. Mike recently carved an abstract piece of art out of the base of a Pinon tree that we had to cut down to create our new home. The base is only a little over five inches wide and yet Mike was able to count 196 rings! This short tree was almost 200 years old, but most of the rings were impossible to see without extreme magnification.

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Oh, and here’s a photo of his new piece. He calls it Rabbit-Hawk… 

When did I lose contact with my culture?

Granted, I have had an unusual transition from my working life as an academic librarian for 25 years, to a new career as a writer at age fifty. At that time I began pitching stories to magazines and sold quite a few. I still felt connected with the world around me, and wrote about it constantly as the “Midlife Crisis Queen.”

Find Your Reason Cover smallMy focus then was on the experience of “midlife” broadly defined as that time between age 40 and 60, when we awaken into a whole new world of possibilities, a new and improved realization of do-overs before its all over. Midlife became an exciting new rite of passage for me, available for the first time in human history to boomers, and those who follow after us.                                                                                                                                                       Numerous women writers I know and respect have written about becoming invisible in our culture as we age. In my experience, this transition has been so slow and subtle that I have not noticed it as the years go by. But I am here to say that I now feel, at age 62, in many respects I can no longer see myself at all in our present culture.

Especially on television I see a culture that does not include me. The contradictions just keep coming, and sometimes I want to deny that this is my culture, especially when I watch the news. The definitions of words I thought I knew keep changing.

For example, in a recent interview with Kellyanne Conway, she complained about everyone judging her by the clothes she wore instead of her words. Hello Kellyanne, that is a battle women have been fighting forever. In fact, that is one the main reasons women became feminists! Did you miss that blast from the past?

I suppose most of these misunderstandings do come from the younger folks having no sense of history, or just a very jaded understanding of where ideas like feminism came from. How many Americans know that women didn’t get to vote in national elections until the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified on August 18, 1920? Sometimes I wish we could give all of our elected officials a test to see how much they actually do know about our history.

Here’s another example: I would love to hear President Trump’s definition of “McCarthyism.” Would it include “the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper evidence?” McCarthyism is the practice of making unfair allegations especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism. This sounds a bit like Trump’s allegations that progressive protesters are getting paid to protest. Where is his proof? What has happened to innocent until proven guilty?

Mostly I am shocked and ashamed at how quickly we have gone from a nation of facts to a nation of “alternative facts.” And I fear most of our population does not know the difference. I am afraid David Brooks hit the nail on the head when he observed recently that President Trump continues to “take a page from the Fascist Handbook.”

‘Those who do not know their history, are condemned to repeat it.’

laura-rasta-xmas-2012-croppedI’m a newcomer to rural southern Colorado.  After two years I decided to compile a personal journal about the ups and downs of moving from a good-sized city to rural America to build a passive solar retirement homes:  A Memoir of Retirement: From Suburbia to Solar in Southern Colorado      Please share this information with your friends if they are considering similar life changes. Feel free to contact me directly to discuss any of these challenges, and to order your own signed copies of any of my books!               Cheers, Laura Lee  (email me: MidlifeCrisisQueen@gmail.com)

What brings readers to your blog?

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Ever since I started writing on “Midlife Crisis Queen” back in 2007, I have wondered who comes to read my writing and why. My readers have certainly not been the people I expected. I originally expected a few family members and friends, but few of them ever came.

barbara-weibelInstead I started making virtual friends all over the world. I got so close to one woman in Australia, I mailed her a copy of my new book free of charge! I met fellow blogger Barbara Weibel (left), who was just starting her travel blog. If you have any interest in world travel and incredible photography you should certainly check out: Hole in the Donut. 

Most of all I connected with kindred spirits, those searching for something else after living a fairly conventional life up until age 40 or 50. All of my readers have been in search of adventure and transformation. All have enriched my life in some small way.

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When I created this blog in October 2014, I expected to attract a very different crowd. I figured my midlife crisis days were behind me as Mike and I slowly settled into retirement in southern Colorado. And, sure enough, I have attracted some great virtual friends who can relate to these post-employment years, even if we are all still writing and publishing. One big surprise, how many readers from all over the world find moving to the Colorado outback country interesting!

What I have always found most astounding is how loyal certain virtual friends can be, and how hesitant my family and long-term friends have been to come here to read a blog post or two. I would think these folks would be most curious about my life, but apparently not. Certain virtual friends seem much more curious and loyal.

I have tried, but I cannot fathom why that is. Perhaps my family and old friends think they know me, but they don’t. We are all ever-changing beings, at least that is what I choose to believe!

Please follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/midlifequeen

Life in the Colorado outback…

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As the sun rises each day over the Spanish Peaks…

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the birds gather out on our feeder to have a quick bird seed meal…

imgp5741and a drink, if the water isn’t frozen.

Did you ever notice?

“The world is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” – W.B. YEATS

 

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“There’s something beautiful about quiet and peace. There’s something beautiful about not trying to do anything, but simply, in some way, your heart joining the whole world. There’s a time in life when we should be running around doing things. We should go out dancing; there’s a time in life for that. There’s a time in life for building something up in this world, a family, an institution, a business, a creative life; there’s a time for that.

There’s also a time for becoming quiet, a time for slow conversations with people that we love, and a time for reflecting on all the things that we’ve seen in many years of living. When the time for those things comes, it’s beautiful. It’s not a terrible thing, it’s sweet. There’s also a time for letting go of our life, not “Damn, somebody’s snatching this away from me,” but “Yes, it’s beautiful to exhale after you inhale.” At the right time, when the chest is full, breathe out and let go.”     – Norman Fischer, “Suffering Opens the Real Path”

Falling In Love at 49

To celebrate the 12th anniversary of the day Mike and I met, I decided to run this popular post from my now defuncted “Midlife Crisis Queen” blog.  This is one of the first posts I wrote after starting my first blog in 2007:

“Love is lovelier, the second time around.  Just as wonderful, with both feet on the ground…”    — Sammy Cahn

And so it is. Falling in love later can be quite the challenge, but when it does happen, it feels just like a miracle! To me it felt like winning the lottery, and in a way it was! When I think back to all the reasons why Mike and I should not have met, it boggles my mind that we did. Although we only lived ten miles apart, without the Internet we most certainly wouldn’t have met.

Our backgrounds were very different, and we shared no social networks. I was also getting plenty gun shy from meeting new men online. The men kept vaporizing after our first date! Yes, I was beginning to feel mighty hopeless.

Then there was the fact that we didn’t really match up on paper. I came from a background with an emphasis on academics, and Mike went to the Navy instead of college. His specialty is mechanics and electronics, mine is counseling, research and writing. but what we had in common turned out to be much more important!

Mike and I immediately found a cameraderie of spirit which I have never found in another human being. We both realized later that we had been seeking to connect with others in this way for most of our lives, but had somehow missed until the day we met.

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From the very beginning our souls spoke to each other in a unique and unusual way, a spontaneous familiarity, a synchronicity of body, mind and heart. And even more amazing, we both realized and appreciated that fact immediately. No backing away from it, no denying it. We both decided to trust our inner wisdom and simply go with it.

We spoke for ten hours on our first date, and took a short trip together less than two weeks after we met, which all reminds me of that great line at the end of one of my favorite romantic comedies:

“When you finally meet the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, you want the rest of your life to begin as soon as possible!” – ‘When Harry Met Sally.’

We both had been through so much, and so we recognized immediately when something unique and wonderful fell into our laps. I also learned about a key component of compatibility that I had never thought about before. Besides the usual requirements, the deal breakers, etc., I learned how important it is that your partner process information at the same rate. Mike and I think at the same rate, and often come to the same conclusions simultaneously. This is quite a gift in a long term relationship!

My own theory of love and attraction came through loud and clear when I first met Mike, that is you get what you are in love. As much as you have worked on developing into your best self, that is the kind of person you will attract to yourself.

So keep working on self-love and self-respect, feel daily gratitude for the life you now have, and read good blogs and books like my own:  How to believe in love again.  Never give up on love if that’s what you want!

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My favorite poet Marge Piercy said it best:

“Love is plunging into darkness toward a place that may exist.”

 

I’m a newcomer to rural southern Colorado.  After two years I decided to compile a short journal about the ups and downs of moving from a good-sized city to rural America to build a passive solar retirement home in the foothills:

A Memoir of Retirement: From Suburbia to Solar in Southern Colorado

Please share this information with your friends if they are considering similar life changes. Feel free to contact me directly to discuss any of these challenges, and to order your own signed copies of any of my books!  Cheers, Laura Lee  (email me: MidlifeCrisisQueen@gmail.com)