The mountains are calling and I must go!

• March 20th, 2017 •

Welcome Spring…a season of renewal and fresh beginnings…and so it shall be for us. Since it coincides with spring break, this will be our third move at the same time of year. By April 1 we should be nicely settled into a new home once again. We look forward to what the future will reveal as this next chapter unfolds.

I was once told I was a mountain woman in a past life. Based on the exhilaration I experience when exploring the mountains, I would say that to probably be true. I feel so enlightened and energized when I stand in awe of the magnificence of the mountains whether hiking a trail, kayaking a lake or enjoying the view. I will now get to be inspired every day by the spectacular view of the Sangre de Cristo mountains just outside our cabin door! I shall never tire of that.

The big question for both of us is “What’s next?” of which we know not but we are ready for what it will be…a slower pace of life that is less expensive and more peaceful. It was our whole motivation for moving as we pondered where we could joyfully live with less space and less money in two years. We considered Washington, Oregon, Wyoming and South Dakota but when it came down to it, we wanted to stay in Colorado albeit many beautiful places would be out of our budget. An article came across our path that introduced us to Westcliffe as a dark sky designation. We had never heard of it but our interest was piqued.

We were indifferent after our first visit on October 29, 2016. Not much of a town, not quite sure if we could see ourselves living there. Two months later during winter break, on a whim, we went to Westcliffe and stayed over on December 29 so we could look at some properties on Friday. We looked at four but it was the small cabin in Cuerno Verde Pines that struck us the most—it was a modern cabin with almost everything we were looking for—not quite, but close enough and the view was absolutely breathtaking.

  

We stopped in Salida for lunch and on the way home, talked ourselves out of it, all the reasons it wouldn’t work. On Saturday we changed the frequency to all the reasons it would work and how nice it could be living simply. Happy New Year, let’s make the move now! We met with our realtor, Sandi Storck, and John Creighton at High Plains Bank and without hesitation we said yes to make an offer on January 7, 2017. We spruced up our lovely home in Longmont and put it on the market on January 17; one week later we had six offers with one $30,000 over asking in cash. Alrighty then! Closed in less than two weeks but able to stay put until the cabin closing at the end of March. Our two year plan turned into two months…and so it shall be.

Flow.

And into the mountains I go…to lose my mind and find my soul

The Ides of March, my past and present

• March 15th, 2017 •

As the death of Julius Caesar in 44 BC was a turning point in Roman History, only ten years ago, the Ides of March 2007, was a turning point in our own history when our condo HOA ordeal began in Santa Barbara, CA. It was pure hell, which in a short time jarred us to “think outside the box” and consider other possibilities. We opened up a map of the country to ask “where don’t we want to live?” and after eliminating every corner, the only state left from our query was the beautiful state of Colorado. We did our search, bought a nice home in Longmont and moved at the end of March 2009. It has been a great eight years living here with the view of the Rocky Mountains. Our lives are far richer because of the wonderful people we have met and the experiences we had the opportunity to enjoy.

In one week we shall have another turning point that we look forward to with much anticipation of new possibilities while living our life in a small cabin with a big pole-barn. We are excited and open to what’s next, whatever that may be living in the high country at 8000 ft. Westcliffe, (population 565 in 2013), is a beautiful, rural area of the state located in the Wet Valley and was officially designated a dark sky in 2015. We are eager to enjoy living as we had camped in the Pacific NW this past summer—small, simple, serene and stargazing—which seems to be what excites us in our 60s! So it shall be and we couldn’t be happier! We look forward to being active in the area as there are miles of hiking and biking trails to explore which should keep us busy for at least the next decade.

And this has all come to pass because of the Ides of March in 2007; what a difference a decade can make!

Thanks for the memories Longmont!

• March 4th, 2017 •

Wrapping up life and business in what has been our lovely home on the Front Range is a significant process to experience. Moving from California to Colorado eight years ago was a fresh challenge and definitely broadened our horizons. We’ve never looked back and know we were meant to be here, we just didn’t know for how long. It’s been an intriguing period that we have greatly enjoyed along with the peeps we consider friends and the many memories made along the way. We got to travel about to explore the western region and met many wonderful, kind-hearted spirits both here and on the road.

It has been a absolute privilege and pleasure to have been an active part of the community.We shall remember our time here fondly and will certainly be back to visit. This town has grown so much since we first arrived in 2009 and is absolutely flourishing. We just want to say to everyone we have met— “Thanks for the memories Longmont!”

We are 21 days out from making the move to Westcliffe but we have mentally left Longmont. I have wrapped up the photo biz. Most things are boxed up. (It’s amazing how little we truly need to get by). Upstair bedrooms are all empty except for the queen bed in the master. The basement is almost clear except for the ping pong table that is staying with the house and the last of my studio equipment. A storage unit in Longmont is full with all the items waiting for the barn to be built. I am done cooking creatively but fortunately we get to savor the Beet Box from Sugarbeet to have a delicious dinner three nights a week which makes it simple, very tasty and easy to clean up. Everything continues to flow and we are thankful.

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” -C.S. Lewis

 

Living in the moment, two simple words: Over & Next

• March 3rd, 2017 •

Ninety-three year old television legend Norman Lear shared a life tip on Wait, Wait…with two simple words—Over and Next and the hammock in the middle is living in the moment. Those two simple words of thought resonated with us and we eagerly move on to what’s next. Living simply in a small mountain cabin with a big barn sounds ideal to us. It thrills us to no end to think we can be in awe of the dark night sky right from our deck! We are fully aware and excited about a whole different way of life in a beautiful rural area of the state. It’s our next phase to enjoy living life in our sixties.

Some people seem to be genuinely concerned with “what will you do?” and we reply “Why do we have to do anything? We shall just be.” Be active, be healthy, be happy, and be at peace. We’re getting off the wheel. We can choose to listen to the chatter of the world or maybe we shall just listen to the sound of silence and ponder the meaning of life. We will take one day at a time and embrace the unfolding of new experiences, meeting new people, and opening up to what’s next…a wonderful life of reinvention is on the horizon!

“The world is grand, awfully big and astonishingly beautiful, frequently thrilling.” -Dorothy Kilgallen

A good start with selling photographic art!

• February 28th, 2017 •

The power of intention meets the law of attraction! No sooner did I update my website with photographic art of landscapes and nature and within 48 hours I received an email inquiry requesting five Colorado specific image files to be printed as 36×24 canvas wrap prints for a new medical office building in Longmont. Well golly if that didn’t make my day and give me encouragement that there is a future market for my photographic art!

It’s a start in my encore career to focus my intention on doing just that—selling my photographic art! I already have a large body of work from over eight years of hikes, three years of camping in the Cricket and many miles on the road. Now we are moving to another inspiringly beautiful area of Colorado that will surely enhance and increase my body of art images. I haven’t taken the new Canon EOS Mark IV out of the box yet as I want to wait to be settled into Westcliffe before playing with it. A fresh start with a new camera.

These are the selection of images requested that were all taken in Colorado. I have no doubt that pretty much every photographer has a photo of Hanging Lake and looking up at aspen trees in the fall. The other three are specifically mine as clouds are never the same twice and I was fortunate to be camped up at Brainard Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness when a heavy white cloud was hanging over Mt. Toll. The wildflowers were growing in my garden last year. The rock stack was built from river rocks found in the Laramie River while camping at Tunnel Campground.

I never want to stop evolving as an artist…

“The virtue of the camera is not the power it has to transform the photographer into an artist, but the impulse it gives him to keep on looking.”  -Brooks Atkinson, American Theater Critic

     

Accept what is, let go of what was, have faith in what will be…

• February 25th, 2017 •

Que sera sera. Isn’t that what Doris Day sang and my mom always said while growing up? Whatever will be, will be…It’s certainly true but there is something to be said for making things happen too! I accept what is…it’s a digital world. After 42 years I am ready to let go of what was—photography as a profession—and move onto what’s next—photography as an artist…where I don’t concern myself whether money is exchanged for my time, talent and expertise. Those days are over and the writing is clearly on the wall; everyone is a photographer in the 21st century! I understand why as photography is fun. I know it certainly has been for me and will continue to be!

Photography has been my life and will always be a part of me. I feel very fortunate to have enjoyed a wonderful career as a photographer and smart to have saved for retirement when the income was solid. I have photographed thousands of people on both coasts with energy, ease and enthusiasm. I have captured many moments in time that span over four decades. I am honored to have had the opportunity to photograph so many weddings in Santa Barbara, California in the days of medium format and film. I reflect fondly on the way it use to be with roll film, square negatives, cropping masks, paper proofs, contact sheets, assembling albums and the wonder of seeing an image appear magically on paper in the darkroom. Now I play in the digital darkroom and love it!

As I look forward to celebrating my 60th birthday this August, now is a good time to reimagine a new direction in life as well as in my photography. I have faith in what will be and that I will find my magic!

Change is a beautiful thing…and we are on our way!

• February 24th, 2017 •

Change is a beautiful thing…we are one month away from embarking on a new road along our journey on planet earth! Our original intention was a two year plan to retire but it seems the Universe had a different time frame and within one month everything shifted to point us in the direction of what’s next! No doubt the timing was right as once we said “YES!” it all flowed effortlessly as if it were the path ordained by God and meant to be. We can’t help but believe that to be true!

After our summer road trip of 51 days on the road, with 48 of those nights camping in our Happy Camper Cricket, it confirmed our desire to live small, simple and serene and we found that dream in Westcliffe, CO. We could not pass up the view from the front door of this modern cabin! Heaven on earth. Our offer was accepted on the 867 square foot cabin on 5+ acres to move at the end of March. In the meantime, we freshened up our home with new paint and carpet to put it on the hot Longmont market on 1/17/17 to have 22 showings and two open houses which gave us six offers to consider one week later. An amazing cash offer, $30,000 over asking, was accepted with closing two weeks later on 2/6/17. We are over the moon delighted and very much look forward to “What’s next!”

A Summer Like No Other

• June 5th, 2016 •

The anticipation of adventure. “One of the sweetest parts of a new journey is dreaming about the endless possibilities in front of you.” -Unknown. Less than two weeks before beginning what will surely be a summer like no other for us. Who knows what we shall discover! We leave Longmont, CO on Tuesday, June 14th with plans to be home on Friday, August 5th. I think I want to spend my August 3rd birthday kayaking on Jackson Lake in the Grand Tetons but that remains to be seen. Fifty-two nights on the road enjoying the ride with our Happy Camper, pictured below! I’ll be filling the door with many new stickers from national parks. I can’t say which one I am looking most forward to experiencing as they are all so different and nspiringly beautiful! I will be burning through a lot of media cards, thank goodness they are so cheap now! This has been a dream in the making for the past year and now the time is approaching to make it a reality! WE have a plan but also an open mind to go with the flow when needed. It’s time to pack!Cricket_0004

Mapping a Summer Road Trip

• May 4th, 2016 •

Six weeks away from embarking on a summer road trip to the Pacific Northwest. Fair enough to call it a most excellent adventure, as it will surely be quite the experience to be living on the move for seven weeks camping in our Cricket trailer in some of the most beautiful places in North America. We plan to kayak whenever we are near a lake in fair weather conditions (no w-i-n-d) and we hope that will be often. I have scanned a lot of travel books to map out the route. Our trip of a lifetime can be somewhat go with the flow but best to have a general idea of where we’re going while staying flexible. We have a lot of miles to cover, close to 5000! We have good camping karma and wherever we go, we will end up where we are meant to experience as I believe the Universe works that way.

It’s been fun mapping it out and researching the places we will see and the campgrounds we will try to stay at. We are exploring the national parks and monuments along the way—Dinosaur NM, Crater Lake NP, Olympic NP, North Cascades NP, Mt. Rainer NP, John Day Fossil Beds NM, Grand Teton NP—not to mention the many wilderness areas we will be journeying through. We’ve decided not to check out the metro areas but skirt around them to immerse ourselves in nature and wilderness.

I have no doubt we will often be in awe and this will be a most excellent adventure! We will come back but surely not the same as when we left.

roadtrippers.com/map_excellent_adventure

RT_2583

Mapping Summer Road Trip

Life in the Bow

• May 4th, 2015 •

It’s been quite awhile since I spent time in a big city like New York. It was a beautiful spring day and everyone was out and about. I had a few hours to pass while my sister enjoyed a Broadway play with a friend so I took the time to walk around Central Park and people watch. It has been a long time since I have been around thousands of people but I was shocked and saddened to see so many people looking down. It’s not an exaggeration to say at least a third of them where looking down at their device whether it was a phone, a Blackberry, a tablet, a small camera. A father and son passed on their bicycles and both of them were riding with their left hand on the handlebars while their right hand was held overhead to the side snapping continuous selfies as they slowly rode their bikes not paying any attention to what was around them. A family, parents and four girls, passed by with each one of them engaged with their own phone in their hands while the youngest child clutched her iPad close to her chest holding on for dear life. A group of four young people were walking all together without talking to one another but looking down at their phones. A lot of people held their phone in their hands, many at their side but just as many holding it with bent elbow up to their chest so they wouldn’t miss a message the second it came in. Is this crazy only to me to have so many people mesmerized by technology? Are we losing our human connection right in front of our eyes and nobody seems to notice or care because everyone is looking down? Have we accepted this technology trend as normal and this addictive behavior will spread? Look around and see how may people are living life in the bow.