I’m beginning to dread a lot about Christmas…

halloweenHere we are, barely past Halloween, and here comes an onslaught of  “holiday” commercials! Yippee! Yes, they can be subtle at first, but they are there. Look closely. They creep on to our TV screens like ghosts and goblins sent to disturb our mellow post-Halloween days. Panic sets in.

It must be my age. Each year I face the “holidays” with increasing dismay instead of the previous joy. The “holidays” make me tense and uncomfortable. Instead of childhood visions of sugar plums from my ancient past, I now feel dread, pure and simple.

The advertising is ugly. It does me in… Is it the good old American hard-sell or the nauseatingly sweet, happy families advertising anything you need RIGHT NOW? We all know this is pure fiction!

Christmas dreadWhy do the Hallmark ads bring a wee tear to our eye? Because we know they aren’t real. They try to capture a life we wish we had instead of the one we live now. And don’t get me started with those male fantasy commercials, where he buys her that one special piece of jewelry so she’ll fall into his arms for a night of amazing sex, suggesting not too subtly she’s nice for a price.

I admit, when Mike and I first met, we had a lot of fun going out to buy our first tree together. We were so happy to have someone to share ANY holiday with. But now it all feels so crass to me. The “holidays” have turned into a gigantic embarrassment. This tradition has soured.

I swear if Jesus came back and saw what’s being done in his name, he would slit his wrists. It has really turned UGLY. Pushy people fighting over parking places at the mall, really? 

We decided to opt out years ago. Enough is enough!

Postscript: I first published this piece in 2009. It has only gotten worse since then!

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Psychoactive Chemicals and YOU

psychoactive brainI, like probably millions of others all over this globe, have an interest in psychoactive chemicals. What can they do to and for us? For humans, examples of psychoactive chemicals include caffeine, alcohol, cocaine, LSD, and cannabis. Can certain of these compounds benefit us, leading to higher levels of consciousness? Can they open our minds to new and different kinds of creativity, or simply make our lives more pleasurable? I was surprised to find new information on this topic on the National Geographic Wild channel yesterday.

The “Happy Hour” episode of the show “World’s Wierdest” explores how psychoactive chemicals have affected animal behavior throughout evolution, sometimes assisting them in being more effective hunters. One fascinating research project looked at how spiders weave very different types of webs on different compounds, for example cocaine versus THC. They also look at primitive tribes who have used these substances in their rituals for centuries.

Here’s a brief summary of this episode:

“Nat Geo WILD explores nature as it gets rolling drunk and spaces out, and delves into the importance, or lack thereof, of intoxication in the animal kingdom. Meet monkeys that binge drink and throw frat parties, elephants that go on drunken rampages through villages and lemurs that get high off millipedes. And when a jaguar’s hunting skills may have been enhanced by chewing on psychedelics, scientists question whether or not there are evolutionary benefits to psychoactive compounds.” 

psychotherapyAnother piece of human behavior I find fascinating is why some of us are open to learning more on this topic, even experimenting with a few new substances, while others fear even the smallest alteration to their present state of mind.  Could it be that old fear of “losing your mind” on some level, or going some place you’ve never been before? My favorite joke on this topic: unemployment is much more of a gateway drug to serious drug use than marijuana, but LOVE is the best drug of all! Trust me, I know.

Life in a very small town: La Veta Colorado

View of La Veta valley from highway

Entering La Veta Valley, September 30, 2014

I loved yesterday! It started out like so many of my great days… badly! Mike has been very ill so we had to cancel our anniversary trip. I was disappointed and a bit grumpy, but I had promised to go into La Veta to meet a new friend who only comes through occasionally, so I drove into town. We met at Mountain Head Pizza. There I had some tasty pizza, along with a great time talking and laughing about “family problems” with my friend. It turns out my new friend has a wry sense of humor and, guess what? Everybody has family problems… who knew? On the way out the door I ran into another new friend.

Then we took a walk around tiny town for a few errands.

La Veta Public Library

La Veta has the best public library! If they don’t have a movie, they get it for you from their extensive network of other small public libraries. That’s how I keep current on my movies. It’s free and I get to watch them in the comfort of my own home.

memoir of retirement 2016Speaking of libraries, I met my new friend when I was at a Christmas festival in La Veta last December, selling my new book. She came up and we started talking and before I knew it she bought a copy. Now whenever she comes down here, she looks me up. I love the person-to-person contact that comes from selling my books one-on-one to new friends, instead of through the “evil empire” Amazon. For one thing, it is so much more friendly and personal. And another, Amazon doesn’t take half of my profit! We have even had these new friends up to our solar home to show off our incredible views. I guess I’m trying to get them to think about moving here….

My new friend and her husband enjoyed my new memoir so much, they wanted to buy my other books, so we walked over to my car to get them. As luck would have it, there were two ladies sitting on a bench near us when I opened up the back of my Forester. They giggled and looked at us, so I said, “No, I’m not dealing drugs out of my car. It’s even better! I’m selling my ‘feel good’ books!” We got to talking to them about books, love and dating (because of my love book), and life in La Veta. They said it’s tough meeting good men here. The good ones are married. One older gentleman walked by, overheard us, and I think he was about to join in to disagree! They asked me to bring more of my books into town. They wanted to buy a few.

Octoberfest in La Veta and West Peak

I said goodbye to my new friend until she comes down here again, maybe for Octoberfest. That’s when they close down Main Street and everybody parties together. This will be our fifth one!

Next I went to see another friend I met through my exercise class. Such good people in La Veta, and it’s amazing how quickly you can recognize so many on Main Street. Sometimes you may be talking about someone and they will walk right by!

So glad I chose this quiet, slow and friendly lifestyle for my forever home & retirement.

To learn more about how we ended up here, living in a solar home in the Colorado outback, check out: A Memoir of Retirement: From Suburbia to Solar in Southern Colorado…  

Also, please follow me on Twitter!

So many sources of STRESS, and our responses

charlottesville-riot August 12 2017Everyone who hasn’t felt any stress this past week, please raise your hand. To avoid stress you would first have to totally avoid all news sources. We have had a virtual smorgasbord of hate and violence both nationally and internationally this week. Take your pick.

cure for insomnia

For some this can lead to difficulties sleeping, like Carol Cassara. She says, Can’t sleep? Don’t want to pop a pill? This super easy remedy works every time for Carol Cassara over at Heart Mind Soul.

wake me in 2020For others, like Meryl Baer, it can lead to thoughts about our next election: Politics and the Presidency is everywhere these days. Speculation has already begun about who the 2020 candidates might be. Will the current President be the standard bearer? If not, who will be the Republican nominee? What about the Democrats? Meryl Baer of Six Decades and Counting throws in her two cents on the topic in Countdown to the 2020 Presidential election.

Boomer Blogger Tom Sightings has been plenty busy lately, what with moving into a new home in a new state. He has found his new friends to be curious — and a little puzzled — about his blogging efforts. So in an effort to explain the compulsion to send out random thoughts into the Internet, he offers the Top 10 reasons for blogging in his article  Why Do We Blog?  Read on for a few more reasons offered by readers in the comment section of the post.

On The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide, Rita R. Robison, consumer journalist, is helping people reduce stress by offering back-to-school shopping tips. See Robison’s suggestions on what not to buy early and what shoppers need to know about outlet malls.

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As you must all know by now, my solution is avoidance, partially because of a few difficult health issues. I’m not particularly proud of my attempts at escapism, but I think I earned some time off. I spend my time enjoying photography, reading, movie watching, gardening, yoga, visits to town for fun festivals, friends coming by to visit, and that funny skunk weed, recently made legal here.

My goal? To continue to find new ways to enjoy the beauty and majestic splendor of life. To assist me in this effort, Mike bought me the ultimate nature-watching gift this week…

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One picture is worth a thousand words, right Rasta?

Naturalist report from Spanish Peaks Colorado

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In a summer of many terrible wildfires in the West, we are fortunate to have received over 12 inches of precipitation from March through June in our area. How do I know? I measured every inch of it myself for COCORAHS. We are also fortunate to have such vigilant volunteer fire fighters patrolling our area at all times.

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Our temperatures are not too bad at 7,000 foot elevation, and our solar home is keeping us nice and cool this summer. The highest temperatures here have been in the low 90s and our well-insulated stucco home hasn’t gone up past 76 degrees inside yet, with no need for AC. Every room has a ceiling fan when more air flow is needed.

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Our greatest surprise has been the plethora of different birds stopping by our bird feeders this spring and enjoying our bird bath. Mike also built a bird house to Blue Bird specs this spring, and we did have a few Mountain Blue Birds check it out…

baby birds

but in the end a pair of Ash-throated Flycatchers laid eggs inside. We were thrilled to watch them so close to our home, bringing bugs back for the babies to consume. Mike looked inside the nest a few times while the parents were away.

Then we were so disappointed to find they had all flown the coop while we were up in Fort Collins this past week! In fact so many of the birds we’ve come to expect at our feeders are not around anymore…

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I had another surprise in my garden recently. I LOVE to see so many lovely cacti (common name Cane Cholla) around this region. This photo was taken along I-25 on July 2nd on our way up to Fort Collins. I read that if you cut off a small section and stick it in the ground, it will begin to grow immediately, so I tried that this past May.

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The other day I was messing around in my native plants garden, and was shocked to find that my tiny seedling was already flowering! You go girl!

IMGP6233Keep your eye out for a major bloom along I-25 north and south of Pueblo soon!

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All in all, I am quite pleased with the turn out in our new native plants garden in the southern Colorado foothills. Note the Mirabilis Multiflora that volunteered to bloom right in front of Buddha… Life is good!

Lala Land: A Musical Done Right!

I have always loved a good musical. Even as a child I loved waltzing along with Anna in The King and I or singing along with Debbie Reynolds in The Unsinkable Molly Brown.  Mike is always astounded when I burst into song with all of the right words from so many old musicals. One of our favorite games as kids was to create a talent show in our garage, so I was quite anxious to see Lala Land. I figured I would either love it or hate it. Since we have no theater access to new films here, I’ve been borrowing all my movies from the La Veta Public Library, and they finally got a copy!             Now I’m going to have to buy it…

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I found this lovely film to be a delicious and delightful cinematic tidbit, a triumph of mostly non-verbal communication. As an overly verbal person who can too easily get caught up in analysis paralysis, this film helped me to escape my analytical mind and just experience the music and settings free of reality. That is what a good musical is supposed to do! I loved the way it was mostly based in “reality” but then these two lovers suddenly danced off into the stars…

falling in love rocksLala Land captured better than any film I have ever seen, that magical feeling of falling in love. That joy at knowing, “How did I ever get so lucky? I’m finally at the right place at the right time!” I didn’t want any of it to end. The artistic freedom of the creators of this wonderful escape into lala land was amazing. Only today can we feel so free with creativity! I am so glad this film finally got made!

I also related to the other theme of following your dreams, and especially the fact that they captured the negative as well as pathologically optimistic part of that experience. When Mia’s play flops and she feels completely discouraged, I was reminded of my attempt at having a launch party for my first book. Nobody showed up! I just wanted to quit, but I didn’t.

I even liked the realistic ending to this story. Sad to say, most young love stories don’t turn out well, but that is not to say they are not one of the best experiences of your life. Being young is often depressing and can be so disappointing, but we all go on. Live and learn. I used to facetiously call this: Pushing on to greater failures.

LOVE in LaLaLand

I loved the way these two smiled at each other at the end, as if to say, “We turned out OK.” If you can love another person this much and still feel good about it not working out, you’ve got it made!

 

How to Believe in Love Again!If love hasn’t ever worked out for you, perhaps you’ve lost faith in love. I realized how disillusioned I was age 49. I knew my greatest wish was to experience true love again, but I didn’t believe in it anymore. So, as a therapist, I found ways to get back to that wonderful feeling of trusting others and self love. Then I met the perfect partner for me! My book: How to Believe in LOVE Again: Opening to Forgiveness, Trust, and Your Own Inner Wisdom is a summary of how I got back to believing in love again.  Please send me an e-mail. Let’s talk! I’d love to hook you up with any of my books, at a great price!

Email: MidlifeCrisisQueen@gmail.com