Easy Rider: The view from 62

I was 14 years old when “Easy Rider” came out. I decided to see it again this week. So glad I did, if only for the music!

EAsy RiderWikipedia describes it as a 1969 American road movie written by Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Terry Southern, produced by Fonda and directed by Hopper. It tells the story of two bikers (played by Fonda and Hopper) who travel through the American Southwest and South after selling a large score of cocaine. The success of Easy Rider helped spark the New Hollywood era of film making during the early 1970s. The film was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1998, a landmark counterculture film and a “touchstone for a generation.” Easy Rider explores the societal landscape, issues, and tensions in the United States during the 1960s, such as the rise of the hippie movement, drug use, and communal lifestyle.

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Although I know this film hasn’t changed in 48 years, watching it showed me how much I have changed, and most of my changes have taken place since moving to rural Colorado. For example, when the riders pick up a hippie on the way to a commune, they eventually ask him where he’s from. His answer is simple and so true: “A city.” When pressed for more he says it doesn’t really matter what city, because cities have the same effect on us as people. I so agree now. And if you don’t, I challenge you to move to the country for a few years. Then we’ll talk.

east rider Jack NicholsonI have also learned a lot about my biases and judgments of people I don’t know. For some reason, moving here has lighten my load of judgments on those who don’t look like me. I know in ‘Easy Rider’ the country people in the south hate hippie-types. There’s a great line in there from George, the local drunk played wonderfully by Jack Nicholson, who tags along with them on their journey to New Orleans. He says many just don’t appreciate the freedom these two bikers represent.

When they see it they want to kill it. Nice foreshadowing.

clearer when in loveMike rode a Gold Wing when I first met him. Before I fell in love with him 12 years ago, I judged those who rode motorcycles, especially if they had a tatoo. So much for that judgment… I have learned quite a bit about how to experience true personal freedom by living with Mike and by moving away from cities.

How do we benefit from judging ourselves and others? We don’t.

Laura 60th birthday partyWant to know more about the changes you may go through by leaving city life behind? After checking out Cuenca Ecuador, we left suburban Fort Collins forever in 2014 to build a passive solar home in rural southern Colorado. Today we enjoy the amazing advantages of solar heating plus a 180 view of the Sangre de Cristo range!

Enjoy my new memoir about this transition from city to country living

Springtime Gardening near the Sangre de Cristos

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The West Peak is stunning in its new coat of snow!

Is there anything more wonderful than spring? Not for me! Especially this year when I finally have the ground prepared for my new wildflower garden! I’ve been in spring bliss in the past few weeks as I gather my precious new plants to decorate our Buddha garden. I enjoy Huerfano Nursery in Walsenburg and…

new plants at perennial favorites Rye

I finally went to experience Perennial Favorites near Rye, Colorado. That place is simply heaven to me, just as wonderful as I hoped it would be! My botany friend Jan says these feelings are in my genetics, with a famous botanist for a father I can’t help myself!

IMGP6036Here’s my small plot to plant and the lovely planting box Mike built for me this spring. I’m trying to grow a few native plants from seeds, plus I have purchased quite a few starters. The deer and rabbits are a concern, so I tried to choose ones they don’t like as much, lavender, penstemons, Blue Mist Spirea. As I took my walks around La Veta last summer, I noticed which plants were surviving the many deer prowling the streets there.

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I also took a few cuttings from a local cholla cactus. Love their magenta blossoms in JULY! It will be a few years before it blooms, but that’s what gardening is all about, tending and caring for your plants as they grow.

NM LocustAlso, I have a request for any locals reading this: Does anyone have seeds for the New Mexican Locust trees we see everywhere past La Veta on the road to Cuchara? I want to try growing them in our area! Thanks!  -LLC

“First Dates” for all!

For some reason I am perpetually fascinated with dating behavior, and I must not be alone! Perhaps because it took me decades of first dates to finally find the one. I perpetually believe in LOVE! I connected with my first husband through the Boulder Camera and by letter back in 1992!

WiFi BrideThat is certainly the reason why I started my own dating service in 2004. I was tired of the Internet nonsense, and wanted to offer the singles in my small city of Loveland (Yes, Loveland!) Colorado an alternative. I spent hours with each client finding out what they were looking for before setting them up with a local single. The only problem was inventory! I attracted a number of very cool older single women and few cool men, so I set myself up on Match.com as bait to attractive more single men. I thank my lucky stars for that move today, because Mike was the first man I met this way!

blind date hellI know, most blind dates are extremely stressful. I’ve experienced quite a few in my life. Have you had the pleasure of watching the new TV show “First Dates” yet? This show is set in a restaurant full of couples meeting for the first time live. So interesting to see their initial reactions when they first meet, and disappointing to see how judgmental the younger couples are with each other. Most have a complete judgment made BEFORE they even open their mouths! Running to the restroom to call a friend within minutes of meeting someone seems extremely RUDE to me…

The part of the show I like best is the elder couples. As a general rule they are magnificent with each other and their feelings. They have had a few couples in their 60s and 70s who treat each other well and generally want to get together afterwards for a second date. It shows to me the difference between those who know how to create true connections with caring others and those who wish to play with their phones during a date.

falling in love rocksMike and I made an amazing connection within minutes of meeting, and spent the next ten hours enjoying each others’ company. Sometimes life surprises you that way, but only if you are willing to take a few risks and have a few less than perfect dates with strangers. In case you have more interest in how I turned my conflicts with love into happily ever after at age 49, please consider reading my book: How to Believe in Love Again: Opening to Forgiveness, Trust, and Your Own Inner Wisdom. 

Let’s work around Amazon (the evil empire!) and make sure 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)

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)

Psychedelics: New Hope in Addiction Treatment?

In honor of May, Mental Health Awareness Month, I would like to turn your attention to some new research on how psychodelic drugs can change certain parts of your brain enough to stop addictive urges. For the whole story please go watch this new episode of ‘Breakthrough’ on the National Geographic Channel.

psilosyben mushroomsAccording to this program, highly regulated experiences with the correct amount of LSD, psilcyben mushrooms, and other psychodelic drugs can alleviate the need for difficult withdrawal from drugs like nicotine and heroin, both of which have been proven to be equally as addictive. Who knew? Now here’s something the government didn’t want you to know! Go watch! It’s amazing. Most have to go to other countries like Mexico to specific clinics to access these treatments.

heroin use increases by groupsIn the highly studied field of addiction and the brain, certain psychedelic drugs have been found to reset the addictive patterns in your brain, assisting the patient in avoiding painful withdrawal altogether, and relieve them of most of their urges to shoot up and smoke ever again. At a time when heroin-related overdose deaths have more than quadrupled since 2010 in the U.S. alone, and cigarettes continue to kill millions of Americans, shouldn’t this information be available to those who need it most? The heroin addict in this video had been using for seven years and knew he would not survive much longer without extreme measures, so he decided to travel to Mexico to save his own life.

A large part of this type of research includes the question: Can we truly change as we age? 

how we changeI have learned from the past ten years of my own life that our brains are AMAZING in their abilities to adapt and change! First through a new marriage at age 50, then a serious brain injury at 53, and by moving to a rural area at 60, after decades of city life, I have experienced a complete brain reset. Yes, I did have quite a bit of withdrawal and definitely some discomfort as I went through these changes, but I would say now, change is possible and even highly recommended as we age.

On living life too carefully…

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.”  — Anne Lamott

Right Anne, like anybody’s perfect, but oh how I tried for decades. How crazy was I? Straight A’s in school, the best student in the world, pressure, pressure, pressure. Heck, I didn’t become a writer for most of my life because I figured I wasn’t perfect enough yet. Three graduate degrees later I finally, SLOWLY figured out that Anne was right the whole time. Now I am eminently imperfect, and I have so much more fun!

own your own stories Anne LamottAfter we moved here I wondered about how honest I should be about exactly how unfriendly some folks were here. I was actually blown away by how badly some acted, even therapists! I assumed that people are naturally friendly in small towns or out in the country…WRONG!

Lots of folks move here BECAUSE of their anti-social personalities. Duh!

It was only later in life that I realized that I own my own stories, all of them. My most valued possessions are my own stories and how I survived them, every one of them!

Midlife Magic book cover med for blogMy first book was the result of this realization. I had already sold a few of my essays to editors who were putting together anthologies on midlife change back in 2008. I had almost completed the sell of the story of my own divorce, to appear in the Seal Press book: Ask Me About Divorce, when I realized I should be making more money on my own stories! That is how Midlife Magic: Becoming The Person YOU are Inside came about. And I can assure you I made much more on my book than the $100 the Seal Press was offering!

From this and so much other risk-taking behavior, which emerged after I stopped trying to be ‘perfect’,   I learned the joy of being fully me. And come to find out, I enjoyed the real me so much more than that nervous perfectionist!

Laura and Rasta on insulation 2014 (2)

“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go…”  -T.S. Eliot

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 retirement home. Enjoy!   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)

“Freedom of the press is only available to those who own one” and now, I do!

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 20,000 visitors  and over 43,000 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…

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                        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)