Three Years Later in Rural Colorado…

IMGP5991

Today we celebrate three years of living in this magnificent part of Colorado. Granted, this was not all a pleasant experience. In fact the first year and a half, from the time we decided to leave suburbia in Fort Collins until our home was completed here, were grueling. Some synonyms for grueling that describe my experience best: backbreaking, challenging, demanding, formidable, and sometimes hellacious. Building in rural areas is not for the meek, and building in mid-winter has its own challenges, but we lived through it and now we are happy as clams!

(Exactly how happy are clams anyway?)

IMGP6134

We moved here for a number of reasons. To live close to nature, to try passive solar living, to build the kind of home we chose to live in for the rest of our lives, and to find a far more peaceful, healthy and less expensive lifestyle than cities can offer us. We received so much more!

IMGP6180

The greatest gift for me is a sense of freedom and natural silence that I have never come close to in my previous life. I now live in the present, choosing each hour how I want to spend my day. I awaken to the birds singing with the sun pouring in, and go out to work in my fledgling garden of mostly native plants, most of which will be sunflowers blooming very soon!

IMGP6073

Then, if I feel like visiting friends, I drive into La Veta on county roads with wildflowers popping up everywhere. Yes, the dining choices are slim here, just one of the “conveniences” you have to give up to live in the country. Luckily I’m a great cook and prefer to eat at home most of the time.

The hardest part for me was taking the original risk. Letting go of our nice home in suburbia was not easy, especially after seeing the one hundred year old miner’s house we would have to move into in Walsenburg for over a year.

decking Comanche home with mountains in backgroun

Then there were the challenges of working with the local contractors and our builder here. Just getting them to come to work was often the biggest challenge! Here’s where we were one year into the build. But somehow it all came together and everything works today, so we have no complaints.

IMGP6121

I know we will face many more difficulties and much stormy weather up here, but at least we finally know where home is. For now, this is certainly where we belong…

Laura and Rasta on insulation 2014 (2)Would you like to read the whole story of how we ended up here enjoying country living? Check it out: A Memoir of Retirement: From Suburbia to Solar in Southern Colorado.

Advertisements

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)

Boomer World: And the Beat Goes on…

I must say, when I started this little website two and a half years ago, to share the slow progress on our passive solar home here in southern Colorado, I never expected for it to grow to 23,000 visitors with over 50,000 views. And I most definitely didn’t expect to see readers from over 80 countries of the world! Hallelujah!

blog pictureSomething else I never expected is that I would still be participating in the same Boomer Blog Carnival that I began in 2008! OK, so the members have changed constantly. I’ve even changed blogs since then. But come rain or shine, we are still bringing together some great blog posts for you to peruse each week!

Speaking of which, today over at Heart Mind Soul, Carol Cassara shares how her husband managed a painful surgical recovery without pain meds. And in another great post she tackles a tough question for most of us: Why is it so hard for us to ask for what we need?

Meryl Baer of Six Decades and Counting says: For so many of us computers are an integral part of our life nowadays. When the device runs smoothly we have a window on the world, using it for work as well as for all kinds of recreational pursuits. But when problems occur, those of us who are “non-nerds” become frustrated. That is what happened to Meryl this week. Her long-time computer companion had issues. Here she recounts her experiences in My Technologically Down Day and Hacked! 

According to Rita R. Robison, consumer journalist, Saturday was National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. If you weren’t able to return your unused or expired drugs, check in your community to see if it has a permanent location. It’s important because medications in the home are a leading cause of accidental poisoning. In addition, if you leave unused prescription drugs in your bathroom cabinet, teens or others may steal them and become addicted to prescription drugs. It happened in Robison’s family; it can happen in yours.

Of course many retirees like to travel. And Tom Sightings says, if you do, more power to you. He admires your sense of adventure. But as for the rest of us, he argues in If You’re Retired Do You Have to Travel? we shouldn’t feel that we’re missing out on something by staying closer to home. Travel is one thing to do in retirement; but it’s not the only thing, and it’s not something we should feel required to “check off” in order to fulfill our retirement dreams.

You tell ’em Tom! Our retirement dream was to move to such a natural, peaceful place that we wouldn’t feel the need to leave much, and I believe we succeeded…

IMGP5991

                        This is our view this morning from our solar perch with the sun pouring in!

laura-rasta-xmas-2012-croppedI created a journal version of all we went through to end up in our toasty warm solar home in southern Colorado:   A Memoir of Retirement: From Suburbia to Solar in Southern Colorado    Let’s work around Amazon (the evil empire!) Contact me directly to order your own signed copies of any of my books!    Cheers, Laura Lee  (email me: MidlifeCrisisQueen@gmail.com)

                        

Are blogs a new form of vanity press?

What a resounding response to my last question about who reads your blog, and all agreed too!

Come to find out I am not alone in observing that my pre-blog friends and family don’t read my blog posts much, but others whom I’m not even familiar with, find it interesting. Even people in over 75 other countries come here, I assume to check out rural living in the USA.

I suppose most people see blogs as a new kind of vanity press. I can see their point. Who cares about me and my life? But there are also over 18,000 visitors who have made over 40,000 views here. Who are they?

I’m sure some are simply nosy about the lives of others. Some may hope to someday move to a rural area and build a solar home. I’d sure LOVE to hear from any of you!

memoir-of-retirement-2016-largeThe reason I started this blog three years ago, and the reason I put together my new book was to document our experience in leaving suburbia for a quieter, more economical, rural experience in sunny southern Colorado. I have always had very good reasons for writing my books. Of course I also just enjoy writing. I find it helps me with my recent brain injury.

 

My thought process and intent:

We are doing something very different for us. After living in or near cities all of our lives, we are going rural. I wonder if others are thinking about doing something similar? Perhaps they might enjoy reading about one couples’ authentic experience. Perhaps they would like to know more about designing a home around passive solar heating. Maybe they would like to know how well passive solar heating can work. Reading about the experience of another might encourage others or convince them not to take such risks so late in life. Either way they could benefit from our experience.

cropped-sangre-de-cristos-in-spring1.jpg

We are so glad we took on all the risk and uncertainty, however if you asked me three years ago I might not have agreed. But now I can highly recommend leaving city life behind for the quiet, wildlife watching and pure beauty of living close to nature.

If you never take a risk, you will never know for certain how well it can work out! That’s our best lesson from our own retirement experience…

P.S. For whatever reasons you find to come here and read, THANKS!

To purchase your own signed copies of any of my books, or if you have other questions, please e-mail me at: MidlifeCrisisQueen@gmail.com.

Please follow me on Twitter too!

Robert Mirabal and the power of intention

fort-francisco

“You never know what the spirit of intention can do.”  –Robert Mirabal

We spent a marvelous morning on Saturday at the Native American Celebration at Fort Francisco in La Veta.

First of all the Fort is a beautiful example of 1800s adobe construction. Their exhibits are also a wonderful collection of memorabilia from the past century, like a a walk through the homes of the early 1900s. Old furniture, clothes, and my favorite, photos of people from our past.

Then we enjoyed a dance performance by three girls from the Jicarilla Apache Nation. The highlight was a performance by Robert Mirabal of Taos Pueblo. Yes, his music is magic, and I also found great wisdom in his words.

Robert MirabalRobert shared with this mostly European-American crowd the history of this area and what it meant to Native Americans. He explained why his ancestors came up here from the south and kept the trails alive and fresh for others. He spoke of intention in our daily life.

When Robert plays his flutes and sings, it sounds like he is channeling the life and  stories of his ancestors, bringing up vivid imagery of our Native American past.

And in a way, isn’t that what we all do each day, channel our ancestors? So much of who we are is determined by choices made by our parents and grandparents.

I am honored to be now living on this land where the buffalo roamed, the place where my grandfather hoped to retire.  I feel closer to the land than I have in decades, and I intent to protect this land and its heritage.

Excerpted from my new book: A Memoir of Retirement: From Suburbia to Solar in Southern Colorado.

How sacred are our mountains…

After watching an episode of Sacred Journeys on PBS, one which included a bit about the sacredness of mountains in Asian thought, I got to thinking about how important it feels to have a full-time view of the forever changing Spanish Peaks right outside our front windows.

sangre-de-cristos-in-springThese are our own sacred mountains, the Sangre de Cristo range.

IMGP3555

The Spanish Peaks, pictured above, have a centuries-old history of sacredness. Dating back far before the Europeans arrived, this area was a crossroads of the American West. Taos Pueblo, located in northern New Mexico today, has been a major Native American trading center for over 1,000 years. One trail headed north out of Taos into the San Luis Valley, crossing east over Sangre de Cristo Pass, through the gap between Rough Mountain and Sheep Mountain.

Various Native American tribes like the Ute, the Navajo, the Jicarilla Apache and the Comanche passed through this valley regularly. To them the Spanish Peaks stood out because they seemed to emerge out of nowhere up to 13,000 feet running east and west, not north to south like the rest of the Rocky Mountains.

The natives peoples considered this a sacred place of ceremony. As far as they were concerned, this is where mankind first emerged from the womb of the earth. In other words, this was their own Garden of Eden.

The Ute Indians named these two peaks Huajatolla (pronounced Wa-ha-toy-a), meaning the “two breasts” which translates as “Breasts of the Earth”.

I loved learning this ancient history, which I first heard about from Robert Mirabal when he came here to perform recently.

We moved here to create a dynamic relationship with these mountains, this landscape and the lovely silence. Mike and I have both traveled to many parts of the world. We now find the inward journey more essential than outward ones.

DSCF1014For us this is a sacred place, one where we can celebrate and appreciate the beauty of nature every single day, while continuing a long tradition of sustainable living.

Want to learn more about what it feels like to say goodbye to city life in order to live more intentionally?  Here’s a link to my new memoir.

Follow us on TWITTER!

Saying goodbye to the Midlife Crisis Queen

It seems a few major changes are all coming together for me right now.

memoir-of-retirement-2016-largeMy new book about our move from Fort Collins to here is out!  Please considering buying it. It’s a FUN read! Then write a review on Amazon to share your opinion with others. What I do here is for me, but also to inform others of the challenges and rewards of changing lifestyles in retirement. And while you’re changing, passive solar is a great way to reduce your heating bills!

 

midlife-crisis-queen-original-header

My other major change is the demise of my original blog: Midlife Crisis Queen.     To explain what it feels like to remove eight years worth of my writing from the Internet is difficult. Here’s something I wrote back in March of 2015 when I officially switched over to this new blog:

After over eight years of maintaining this blog, not to mention a number of others, I am tired. In those eight years I have also produced a number of books and e-books to help others survive and thrive through what can be some tough middle years.

When I started out as a writer I was full of ideas and zeal for so many different projects. It was like I was finally set free to express myself on a larger stage, and express myself I have. I am proud of my many accomplishments. I am also tired.

I have done what I can to encourage those who struggle with midlife change, those who wish to transform their lives into exactly what they have been dreaming of for decades. In that process I have also transformed my own life into exactly what I wanted back in 2004.

Soon I will be 60, living a new dream in our lovely mountain home. I am clearly in midlife no more, and I can feel a change coming over me. I no longer have the energy nor desire to try and save the world. I have lost interest in that pursuit. I can feel a future of quiet meditation and contemplation coming over me

Changing the way we see midlife was obviously a ridiculous goal to begin with, but you have to understand, I am an Aries, and that means stubborn!

I know I have reached hundreds of thousands of you with my blog posts, and thousands with my books. Some have shared with me the value of my efforts.

Thank you for letting me know I have made some difference in your life. It has been my pleasure.  Please keep reading my books, following our adventures and, most importantly, keep making your own dreams come true!