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…

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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 access to new films here, I’ve been borrowing all my movies from the La Veta Public Library lately, 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 main 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 early 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 very disappointing, but we all go on. Live and learn.

I used to facetiously call this: Pushing on to greater failures!

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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 isn’t working out for you, perhaps you’ve lost all faith in love. I had too at age 49. I knew I wanted 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 best partner I would ever know! Why not check out my book: How to Believe in LOVE Again: Opening to Forgiveness, Trust, and Your Own Inner Wisdom.

Send me an e-mail and I’ll hook you up with any of my books, at a great price!

Email: MidlifeCrisisQueen@gmail.com 

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

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 psychedelic 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.