Rent-a-Friend, Slow TV & Country Living

What an interesting array of new ideas this past week! From Japan we have “Rent-a Friend” or family member… Apparently some Japanese can be so obsessed with appearances that they actually rent human stand-ins for various get-togethers. But don’t scoff too soon at this idea, because apparently it is also taking off in our own country! Hell, it may be a great idea for those new to foreign countries…like NYC. For the Japanese, who feel uncomfortable borrowing things, rentals seem more honest. They even have substitute therapists, untrained people who will listen to you complain about your life for only $10/hour!

train rideIn contrast, Norway has recently discovered the popularity of slow television, or “slow TV” (Norwegian: Sakte-TV), popularized in the 2000s by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK), beginning with the broadcast of a 7-hour train journey in 2009. This live “marathon” television coverage of an ordinary event in its complete length, generally last many hours or even days.

OK now I have a unique and perhaps revolutionary idea. Why don’t you spend the time and energy to make your own hand-picked friend. Imagine how much more satisfying that might be. Or, if you prefer a slower paced life, go find it! Since moving to the country I completely understand the appeal of slow TV, except mine is called ‘slow scenery’ and I stare at it all day long.

IMGP5820From daybreak…

imgp5537to sunset, it changes constantly, and sometimes offers up the most amazing images!

And I have even collected over the decades some of the most perfect music to go along with this tremendous lifestyle. This morning I had to listen to Jesse Colin Young’s song “Ridgetop.” A great description of where we live now. That and “Country Home” work for me!

laura-rasta-xmas-2012-croppedI’m new here in 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:  A Memoir of Retirement: From Suburbia to Solar in Southern Colorado

Let’s work around Amazon (the evil empire!) and make certain authors get paid for their books!           Please contact me directly to order your own signed copies of any of my books!  Cheers, Laura Lee  (email me: MidlifeCrisisQueen@gmail.com)

In Praise of Natural Sounds and Night Skies

“The joy of listening to the quiet symphony of nature and the wonderment of seeing the Milky Way stretching overhead are unique experiences that can still be found in many of our national parks.”   — Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division, NPS

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I was so pleased to discover this week that our National Park Service maintains a Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division. These are a few of the joys I have discovered and begun to fully appreciate only by moving away from cities. By living rural I can finally hear the great animal orchestra composed by nature, and look up to find some of the last remaining harbors of natural darkness in our country.

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Now that I know, I wish to preserve and provide opportunities for everyone to experience this critical resource.

To learn more, go view this CBS video: Recording the Sounds of Nature’s Quietest Places

Invisible Me

Ever since I turned 50, I have read about the idea that as women age they become ever more invisible in our society. I have wondered why I don’t feel this way for years. This week I discovered the reason.

I have always felt invisible. Invisible is normal for me.

I grew up feeling invisible. My parents couldn’t see me. They could barely see themselves. In my house, nobody knew who they were. No one could see beyond their looks and achievement, and no one had anything to give to anybody else. Because my parents grew up not being seen by their parents, they could not see themselves or me.

or ignore meAnd it felt somehow safe to be invisible, especially as I got into junior high and high school. I tried being more visible once in ninth grade. I was actually semi-popular for a while and that didn’t feel good, so I escaped into invisibility again. Because I no longer knew who I was, others couldn’t see me either. Years later I spoke to a few people who went to high school with me. Nobody remembered me at all, even after I showed them a picture.

Was I ever really there?

This is how it works. My parents projected onto me their distorted view of themselves, believing that I was just a smaller version of their own woundedness. They judged me harshly, just like they judged themselves. So confusing. They would tell me I was a certain way when I felt completely different inside. They would tell me I was careless and irresponsible, when I felt overly responsible for everything in the world, especially them.

Now that I’m seen and appreciated fully in my life, I realize how lonely and heartbreaking it was to feel so invisible. To fit in, I adopted the world’s view of me and stopped acknowledging my own essence, my own Self. My own wonderfulness!

When I moved to a much smaller town recently, I found this interesting. I again felt invisible. I recognized immediately those who wish to ignore me. I avoid them, because I know what an amazing, interesting, intelligent person I am.

So much fun to see and know!

Laura and Rasta on insulation 2014 (2)I’m new here in 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 home.    It’s fine to ignore me, but please don’t ignore my new book!  A Memoir of Retirement: From Suburbia to Solar in Southern Colorado

Share this information with your friends, and please feel free to contact me directly to discuss anything or to order your own signed copies of any of my books!    Cheers, Laura Lee  (email me: MidlifeCrisisQueen@gmail.com)

The Supreme Freedom of Retirement

Retirement hasn’t been at all like I pictured it. In fact, I never even pictured it until I met Mike thirteen years ago. The fact is, I couldn’t afford it back then, instead I was quite busy looking for a new job at age 49.

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At that time, good fortune visited me big time! I decided I needed to change careers, and Mike decided he wanted to support me in this new endeavor. Thus emerged my “Midlife Crisis Queen” blog (now defunct) and my three books about the challenges and rewards of changing everything in midlife.

Then Mike and I moved to rural Colorado in 2014, which required some major mental adjustments (at least for me) and we worked full-time to produce a passive solar home in a little over one year. It was only after that major life achievement that we began to officially “retire.”

retirement living for yourself

Now, a couple years later, I recently realized that retirement may be my first chance to observe my true nature. For the first time in my life nobody is telling me what to do, no parents, no boss, no need to be nice to make money, no need to prove myself to anyone. Basically no pressure and very little stress of any kind.

For the first time I get to decide how much self-discipline I want to have. At first we both had very little. We were both so exhausted from over a year of home building. Mike and I both felt numb. We loved to sit and look at our view and just feel glad to be alive.

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The meaning of life is having a spectacular view…

But after a while, you begin to wonder who you are beyond all the rules and self-discipline that has filled your life up until now. Do you like who you really are? Do you enjoy hanging out with yourself and your significant other?

How will you fill your life now? These are the kinds of questions that keep some from ever retiring. They may be afraid of what they might become with no rules or structure. I enjoy this phase of life so much more than I ever imagined! I love the lack of rules or structure to my days.

Mike at home

I don’t need very much to give my life meaning, because my meaning is in the enjoyment of each day.

I appreciate the fact that I have a better life than just about anyone else on planet earth right now, and I’m going to enjoy the hell out of that until I draw my last breathe…

forget the past and failures

I’m a newcomer to rural southern Colorado. After two years I compiled a short diary of our ups and downs as we moved 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)

 

A Drive Northwest of La Veta Colorado…

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Since we finally had a sunny day yesterday, we decided to take a drive out west of La Veta. We took off west on Francisco street on the county roads and soon started seeing wild turkey everywhere…

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and amazing rock formations too!

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There were also abandoned cabins.

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As we made our way back up to Highway 160, we saw a different side to Mount Mestas than we’re used to from our home.

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And on our way back to Navajo,

IMGP5892I took a few more photos of the old adobe school house on County Road 510,

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as it continues to tumble down…

Romantic Expectations & Reality

So I’m watching some show on HGTV, and the woman who’s looking for a new home says, “I’m looking for a home that feels magical when you walk in!” From this brief comment I launch into my own version of a song from this 1965 Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella television special.                       Sure, you remember it, don’t you? With Leslie Ann Warren?

I LOVED THIS SHOW AT AGE TEN! I memorized the songs.

Cinderella 1965“Magical, mystical, miracle, can it be, is it true? Things are incredibly lyrical, is it me? No it’s you. I do hear a waltz. I see you and I hear a waltz. It’s what I’ve been waiting for all my life, to hear a waltz.”

What a lovely thought, and how unrealistic can you get? I know Rodgers and Hammerstein were probably just trying to think of words that went together well, but instead they helped to create the most unrealistic expectations in a generation of young girls!

Mr. Right frig magnet

Besides the story, which promotes the idea of waiting for a prince to rescue you from your grim surroundings, the words of the songs, which have stayed in my mind for over 50 years now (!) suggest we will most certainly “hear a waltz” when Mr. Right arrives in our lives. And they say we don’t have brainwashing in the USA… No, we have commercialism instead! Just as powerful and encouraged by our culture.

To be fair, by the time I was more interested in looking for a partner, around 1975, this song by Jefferson Starship was popular, and it also promised miracles. 

Mike and Rasta in kayak 3No, I’m not saying that falling in love isn’t magical, I’m just saying the first time I met my “prince” in 2005, I didn’t hear a waltz OR believe in miracles. I had finally gotten past all of that garbage at age 49. I was now ready to meet a real person who had the self-awareness and emotional capability to love and give to others in their life. As it turned out, nothing about his outward appearance or natural talents were what I expected. No, I had no expectations of falling in love with a motorcycle man who knew how to fix things. But I went with my gut and inner wisdom. Good thinking Laura!

Mike on old tree up at build site 2014

Now that we live almost off the grid in rural southern Colorado, I have so many more reasons to appreciate his abilities to wire up the generator when the power goes off for days at a time. No magical, mystical miracles. I don’t remember hearing a waltz when he appeared, but I knew instinctively that he would help me make it through the rest of my life, with love and affection every single day!

Southern Colorado is Closed Today and Tomorrow – Slipping off the Grid!

You would not believe how we spent the past three days…

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We got a BAD lightning and ice storm on Thursday night around midnight. I know because it woke me up. The combination of rain, hail, and then ice took out our electricity since Friday morning at 6AM… 3 days ago! No heat, no cooking, no nothing except Mike did set up a generator to keep the food in the frig cold.

We used our camp stove in the garage to heat a few things and eventually got the TV and coffeemaker working…priorities you know.

All in all this was a thought-provoking experience. We drove into town today at lunch for a hot meal and some heat. Low and behold, the power came back!  Hallelujah!!!

In an interesting twist, the TV stations who say that they cover southern Colorado, never noticed when the thousands of Coloradoans who live in the poorest counties in the state, went without power for days! Money still talks….

Anyway, I did write while we were cut off from power. Here are my impressions from Friday morning, the last time we had power:

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The view out our door on Friday morning…10 inches or so!

Why get up?

Nothing like waking up to a foot of thick, wet, snow and all the power is out. This is the best example I can think of that old ZZ Top song: “Why get up?”

The first thing I want is coffee and maybe a little news, but I cannot make that happen. Furthermore, when I contact our electric company, they tell me every town within 50 miles is without power, so even if I could go somewhere, they wouldn’t be open…

Which brings me to the next line of that before mentioned song:

“This whole world’s gone crazy think I’ve seen enough. Gonna sleep forever, why get up?”   …What better description of the Trump presidency?

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       After the storm… If you want the rainbow you must have the rain!

laura-rasta-xmas-2012-croppedI’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:   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)