The Lives of Frontier Women (and me)

I’ve been thinking about a number of things lately. Confrontations with your own mortality can do that to a person. Questions arise like how proud am I of myself and my life thus far, regardless of what anyone else thinks? Yes, I know, I can be a bit cerebral at times.

Then I heard a truly thought-provoking quote that made me laugh out loud the other night. The story was about how so many Americans came out to the western frontier in the late 1800s either because they were “trying to lose themselves,” as in avoiding Civil War conscription, “or to find themselves.” This cracked me up! It hit the nail on the head in terms of why I moved out of the city and chose to retire in rural southern Colorado.


I should probably preface this with my eternal fascination with frontier life. For as far back as I can remember I played “pioneer woman” on the playgrounds of my elementary schools in Kansas. I loved watching TV shows like Rawhide, and any movie about frontier life. I grew up on the books of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and when I got older I loved reading the journals of women who came out west in covered wagons.

When I started my writing career, I published a few magazine articles about how many came out West simply to escape tuberculosis in the cities back East. Most don’t know that TB was the leading cause of death in the world in the late 1800s and early 1900s, before penicillin was discovered in the late 1920s. Many came in hopes of a change in fortunes too, like discovering silver or gold and getting rich quick.

I realized just this morning I came to rural Colorado to both lose my old Self or identity, and find out all the other people I might be. I know now how influenced we are by others as children and young adults. It’s almost impossible not to be. But the re-birth which often happens later in life is the shedding of old personas, the letting go of all those voices inside that want to tell you who you really are.


I’m the youngest one here!

This is the process of getting back to that vulnerable child you were when you were young and impressionable. It feels sometimes like getting back to your original soul and appreciating it for the first time, a spiritual downsizing from the burdens of our past…


What a glorious discovery this can be!

I’m a newcomer to this part of Colorado, so after two years I wrote a book about the ups and downs of moving here to build a passive solar home in the foothills. Please share this info. with your friends if they are considering similar challenges! 

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

Please feel free to contact me directly for your own signed copy:

My Next Project: A Journal of Retirement


I’m just beginning to get excited about writing my next book! This week I started collecting all that I have written in the past few years, and enjoying (in retrospect!) the process of how our retirement came about. Retirement for us was a bit of an ungraceful process, sort of like that joke about making sausage, but it happened all the same and most importantly, we survived!
It’s surprisingly fun and funny reading my old entries about trips to Ecuador, renovating our old house for sale, falling down the stairs, etc. I would guess this could make for some interesting reading for those who are just beginning to consider their retirement options.


Mike fooling around down below!

I have decided to write it in journal-style, much like if the reader was reading my diary, as it happened. I have always enjoyed the intimacy of books written in this style.

IMGP4580This book will answer such questions as when and why did we first get interested in moving to Ecuador? Why did we lose interest? How did we decide to check out southern Colorado as a site for a solar home? How did we choose the architecture of this home? etc.

Basically this will be a summary of how this wonderful place all came about for us. How did we end up here, doing this at age 60?

I am filled with gratitude that I can now live like this forever.  Please go learn more about our move from Fort Collins to here in my new memoir!

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.”  –  David Bowie