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.


Joyce Kimmel said...

Joannie, this is a sad and happy account of this past year. The Fire was awful - and I like you would have frantially gone back in and searched for my beloved kitty. So glad that you have found more kitties to fill your life. They are sych a joy and they are so smart. People just do not realize that kitties do talk with yu without saying a word. You can read their actions, etc.

Regtarding the mountains - we absolutely loved the mountains! Like I have told you before we were in the mountains weekly. We love the wild life and the trees and rock formations - everything about it. The only reason we moved to Florida was because of my husbands health - he could not handle the cold weather or the snow anymore. But we still MISS our beloved mountains!!! We also loved Garden of the Gods - went there every week also!

Bless you and enjoy your travels and thank-you for sharing!
Joyce Ottens Kimmel

~Wendy~ said...

I love this! You are an inspiration!