Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Hello to my two readers out there.  You may notice that I have changed the name of my blog.

This name came to mind as my life began changing a few weeks ago.  Life can be constructed around the oddest catalysts, have you noticed that?  In my case, something seemingly negative has instead become the stimulus for my realizing a decades old dream.  Actually, TWO seemingly negative events account for this major lifestyle change.

The first was the fire we sustained at our beloved "ranch" just over a year ago.  As both of you know, our home burned to the ground.  Below ground, actually.  Yeppers, there's just a big ol' hole in the ground where our home used to be.  Now the property looks like a beautiful park.  I have to admit that I'm attracted to returning and visiting for that reason plus, as always, the enjoyment of plentiful wildlife on our 30 acres.  Perhaps this is the reason we haven't sold that beautiful acreage yet.  Too nice to give up.

I've been ruminating for over a year now on the psychological changes which occur when one's home burns down.  I suppose that at first it was a bit of a shock.  It seemed that my friends and family were much more upset by the whole episode than was I.  I never cried or became sad about the loss of our many things.  Antique collections, stained glass, thousands of pieces of depression glass and stained glass lamps are only "things."  Oddly, evidently, this did not particularly bother me.

Due to this I'd like to feel that I have my priorities straight.  Yes, I adored the house.  Yes, I adored living amongst nature and of course I adored all my funky art and collections.  But in the end they are only things which superficially decorate our lives.  They are not, by any means, life itself.

The only sadness was in the loss of our pets who I tried to save, but couldn't.  Those moments shall remain the most frightening of my life as for me, anyway, fire became the most terrifying element I'd yet encountered.  As I ran back into the rapidly burning house to attempt to rescue my pets I could think of nothing else but our beloved kitties.  They, of course, were hiding from fear and not to be located.  All I could think to do was kick out the window screens in case they would attempt to escape the house.  As far as we were aware in our constant returns to search for them, none did.

I didn't think to grab my purse which was right in front of me, or our comptuers, or our important papers, or anything of a collectible nature.  It simply did not occur to me.  I was after our pets and they were of the only import of all which resided in that house.  With the ceiling burning over me I knew I had to run back out or risk my life further.

The house was completely engulfed in flames in less than 20 minutes.  As the firefighters informed me, this is normal for new construction.  Who knew!  I certainly didn't.

Unfortunately, my sweetie arrived home just in time to see the last of his home burning down.  He was a rock.  Still is, though I know he felt the loss of our pets as deeply as I. 

We left the burning embers with the clothes on our backs and my husband's credit card in his pocket and headed, at 10:30pm on a Saturday night, to the nearby Walmart to purchase a suitcase, pajamas, fresh blue jeans and t-shirts and a few toiletries.  Accompanied by these necessities we cuddled together in a motel room for the next few nights. 

Outside of our sorrow over the loss of our kitties, I felt as though this was not at all a tragedy, but an adventure.  After all, life is change.  Indeed, I have always welcomed most changes that life has offered me.  Learning experiences all, this was yet another on my journey to a better place, both emotionally and psychically.

Following the fire we spent a week in motels and then two more at my Mother's home nearby.  Ironically, we found our next home just two doors down from my Mother's home.  Old, sturdy brick (less chance of fire!) and empty, we made an offer the seller couldn't refuse and moved in immediately.  What a lark it was to purchase all the furniture specifically as our clasic arts and crafts style home dictated.  Filled with natural woodwork and sets of pocket doors, I spent several weeks choosing just the right accompaniment for this beautiful home and had it ready by Thanksgiving dinner, 2010.  We celebrated with family and a traditional turkey dinner.

What heals your heart from the loss of beloved pets?  Caring for another rescued animal, of course.  A friend's farm kitten was offered and I grabbed the chance to shower a new addition to our family with all the love lost in the ether of our previous seven kitties.  Little Sharmayne, all black, long haired and full of piss and vinegar became without a doubt the most adored kitty in the northern hemisphere.  I still relish the hours, more than a year ago, that I spent returning home to play with her and cuddle her all night long.

The addition of four more rescue kitties from the Humane Society has well rounded out our family of furballs.  How fortunate am I to be married to a man who, also, is a feline enthusiast.

We spent nearly a year in this comfortable home when I encountered yet another catalyst of sorts.  "They" say that everything happens for a reason and although this has always made cosmic sense to me, I'm now becoming a truly convinced believer.

It turns out that getting a kick in the pants to make more changes - changes which pointed me in the direction I'd wished to go for decades - was precisely what I needed to guide me directly to my dreams.

And ....... what might those dreams have been, you are both wondering?  Well, for at least twenty years I have loved and wanted to live in the mountains.  Thanks to my younger daughter moving to the top of a mountain 21 years ago I've had plentiful experience in that arena.  From the get go, even as a child visiting the mountains with my parents, I've felt that my soul longed to stay in that geographical part of our country.  Nothing is as beautiful to me as majestic mountains and all the fabulous wildlife they shelter.

With litttle effort I located my perfect mountain home.  Two, actually.  Decisions, decisions!  I chose (for now) the one located in one of my favorite Colorado towns:  Manitou Springs.  Funky, quirky and full of cheerful people, Manitou has been one of my favorite trip destinations for years.  Now I live there - half time!
Having the best of two worlds is something I've only dreampt of in my past.  Living this dream is something I'm still adjusting to in a very happy manner.  In my mountain home I see Pikes Peak from one window and Garden of the Gods (a very spiritual place for me) from another.  With a caretaker's apartment in the basement, an art studio on the second floor, a whirlpool with a view and a fireplace in the living room perfect as a cozy reading spot, I can't imagine how mountain life gets much better.

But wait.  It does!  One dream leads to another so not only have I realized the enticing prospect of having a home in the mountains, but dream #2 has just been realized, also.  
It goes like this.  Two decades ago (as a young thing of only 40) my adventurous desire was to purchase a small RV, pack up Phil (my standard size white poodle) and take off for parts unknown - in particular, Sitka, Alaska. 

Now I don't know whether or not I'll be driving all the way to Alaska, but as of two weeks ago I do have a new gypsy motorhome.  Phil, unfortunately, is no longer with me so I carry his picture on the dash board.  Wherever I travel now Phil goes, too.  The new gypsy home is big enough for packing up my five kitties and heading out for parts unknown.  So now Dream #2 has been accomplished and will shortly be put into action via heading down to Austin, Texas to visit family for Yule.

What does this all mean, if anything?  You know I'm always looking for meaning in each of life's changes.  I think there's a lesson here for all of us:  don't put off your dreams.  Don't wait for your house to burn down to make "dream" an action word.  I'm not saying I would never have done these things which make life worthwhile for me, but I'm sure pleased that they are coming at a time in my life when I'm young enough to truly enjoy them, yet old enough to really appreciate them.

As Maya Angelou says, "each decade is better than the last."  I can attest to this.  Life has never been as good as it is now in my sixties.  Sure, my knees ache more than they did two decades ago, but everything that resides in my mind MORE than makes up for the aches and pains.

My gypsy days are just beginning.  There is so much left to learn, accept and enjoy.  I was watching the news this morning, enjoying a segment about a scientist/doctor who believes he may have the key to extending our lives for ........... ever?  Besides the fact that overcrowding the earth would become a huge problem, I wonder if we don't need the respite of death and rebirth in order to focus more fully on lessons learned and choosing our next lifetimes. 
But that's another blog .............. isn't it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


So, if a turtle's shell falls off, is she nekkid, or homeless?
Enquiring minds want to know.

Monday, September 19, 2011

How do you decide where to live?

I have a question for both of you readers out there. But first, let me apologize for being absent so long. I'd like to say that I've been busy, but that really wouldn't be true. Busy inside my head, possibly, but not physically busy by any means. Yes, this must change, but I digress ...........

Here is my question: given circumstances which would allow you to do so, how would you decide where you would most like to live? Would geography be your first priority? Weather? Family or friends? Or have you never really thought about the possibility that you can choose where you want to live?

It seems that, as is lifestyle, choice of life location is mandated mostly by two things: upbringing and job availability. Choice does not necessarily enter into our geographic circumstances.

My impression is that, in general, we pay as much attention to our choice of geographic location as we do to our daily lives. In other words: not much. While taking family and responsibilities into consideration, why don't we consider these things which are so infused with the potential for bathing our souls in utter bliss? Ya, I know. Location isn't everything ......... unless you're in real estate, of course.

But for those of you who travel, you know that there are locations which can take you to a spiritual place that no other can. For me it's the mountains. I first saw the mountains when I was in grade school. I was fortunate enough to have parents who thought that travel was important. My first site of the Tetons is something I remember today, 50 years later. That particular mountain range was life changing then, and still is stunning, no matter how often I see it.

So here I am, 40 years later, actually buying property in the mountains. I've fantasized about so many places: Salem, MA; Wyoming; California; Maine; Oregon; Washington State; Austin, TX. To be as comfortable and inspiring as a geographical location could be there must be a multitude of things coming together. Like-minded people, landscape which inspires, a compatible political environment, enjoyable activities. All of these add up to an environment that stimulates, soothes and inspires.

Tell me, you two readers out there, what does this for you?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Morning Ritual

Good morning! It's Monday. I'm starting a new spring ritual.

Arise before dawn to the sound of the birds waking up outside my bedroom window (window always cracked open no matter the temperature outdoors) and listen gratefully to the world awakening around me. Spend a few moments in quiet solitude ...... until Sharmayne (my active black kitten) realizes I am awake and begins to pounce on my face and hands.

Kitty hugs are the best! Shy Cybil waits at the bedroom door hoping I will be up soon. She waits every morning for our mutual bathroom visit. They say girls always go to the bathroom in pairs? They're right.

Next, stretch, stretch, stretch while still in bed. Have you tried this? It makes a world of difference to how you will feel when your feet hit the floor. The first to teach me this was my wonderful massage therapist in Milwaukee (thank you, Leanne). She told me that as I lie on my back in bed, pull each leg back by the knee, one by one, and hold (gently, of course) my leg bent back as far as is comfortable for a few seconds. This not only limbers your leg muscles but helps loosen the hip joint, making it easier to walk. Are you thinking of how stiff your hips can feel in the morning? Try this. Really. It works.

With the necessities taken care of, I pull on yesterday's jeans, t-shirt and denim jacket and set out for my pre-dawn walk. This is always an interesting experience. Who is up at 5:30 or 6:00 a.m.? Which lights are on, how many TVs are already placating wee ones with inane cartoons of princesses waiting for their princes, who do you meet on the sidewalk as you stroll the neighborhood? This morning I met a man who was taking a walk while carrying his dog. Go figure. Now that's devotion.

Back at home the electric kettle awaits fresh water for coffee. Rock that French press with some strong, freshly ground beans and a world class fusion is about to take place. Cybil and Sharmayne wait impatiently for their breakfast of canned paté (are they spoiled?).

Next up, carry your laptop and java to the front porch. Now, I have to tell you that I have never had such a wonderful front porch as this. All brick, mortar and concrete, and LARGE! Even back at the ranch where the view from the porch was terrific, the porch itself was so narrow that a conversation pit was impossible to improvise. Nothing like a 1912 porch. They really knew how to do some front porch sittin' back then.

Although my spring porch altar is only partially set up, I light my incense and relax into the utter gratefulness of this moment. The cardinals chasing each other through the trees, the sparrows flying past me through the porch on their way to morning seeds, even the cars going by ferrying 8:00 a.m. workers and school children is a testament to the world coming alive.

This is life as it should be: busy, hopeful, restful, grateful.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Belated Reflections on St. Patrick's Day

I admit that I was raised with the thought that if you are not Irish (I'm not) then you don't celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Silly, I know, but for six decades that idea stayed with me.

For the first time this year, I paid homage to our dear Irish friends and their heritage by decorating my gargoyle with green shamrocks and making - for the first time ever - a huge pot of corned beef and cabbage. It felt so right! I even received my first St. Patrick's Day card. How did she know?!

To not celebrate others' holidays is a selfish exclusion and message of intolerance that, I realize now, is unbecoming and a reflection of how we feel about the world and our place in it. Making that pot of corned beef, cabbage, red potatoes and carrots affirmed that I am a citizen of this world and a sister to all those of different nationalities and beliefs. I know this. I agree with this, but old habits die hard.

I just killed another one two days ago.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


As I do most every day in the wee hours of the morning, I sit in my comfy reading chair listening to NPR on the radio with my laptop at hand and kitties performing their kitty antics nearby. As my stomach rumbles and I prepare a warm, buttered bagel (sesame seed, please) to go with my French press coffee I never fail to feel gratitude for my immense amount of life blessings.

This morning a facebook friend's (thanks, Robb) post got me thinking further on the subject of gratitude. He posted a "Spent" test in which one finds just how long it takes to run out of money when one has become unemployed and nearly homeless. I took the test and found that I would last only nine days and then only because I'm a good typist. Thank you, Mom, for insisting that I take a typing class in 7th grade. It was invaluable and I still type nearly 100 words a minute. Better than telephoning, I say.

But I digress.

Mind wandering off on several tangents (surprise!) such as how does gratitude affect our lives. Does it, as some way, truly bring even richer rewards to our daily adventures as humans? I tend to think yes, as being grateful and acknowledging that gratefulness only promotes the further realization of blessings in our lives.

Then I wondered how gratefulness affects the immensely wealthy. Are those top 2 percent rich in this country who hold what ....... nearly 90 percent of the country's wealth now ....... are they grateful? Are they satisfied? Do they share because they enjoy the universal joy of sharing?

I am not rich. Not anywhere near rich, and yet I have far and away more than I need. I share with those in other countries who have less than I, and with abused and abandoned animals in this country, yet I do not see firsthand the tangible results of my sharing. I find myself longing to do so and realize that I have not done enough locally.

Contemplation makes me wonder how gratitude affects others. Do you keep a gratitude journal? Are you aware of the gifts it brings to your life? Does gratitude spark your creativity or motivation? Do you spend a few minutes (or more) each day feeling gratitude and if so, how does it affect you?