Dusty and Mindy Move to Colorado in a Dodge Van with Lily and Me


“What the fuck? This isn’t our car. It smells weird. I don’t like this, I don’t like this at all. I might lie on my back and pee in the air. This is awful. I’m scared.”

“It’s OK, Dusty. She’s here. We’re all here. Our beds are here. It’s all fine.”

“How can you be so sanguine, Mindy?”

“Well, first it’s my nature. Second, I think if she’s here we’re fine. If she comes back when she leaves us, we’re fine. I don’t worry about every little thing like SOME dogs I know. She always takes care of us.”


“It’s OK Dusty,” I tell him from the front seat. “We’re going home. You can quit pacing and breathing hard.”


“See? I told you, Dusty. Lily isn’t worried.”

“Yeah but she’s a wild animal. We’re pets.”

“There is that. But really, Dusty, learn to keep it under control a bit. You’ll have a happier life.”

“You’re probably right, Mindy, but when I start getting scared, it’s a fast and slippery slope all the way to terror.”

“Lie down, Dusty,” I say.

“Do what she said. I have a feeling this time home is a long ways away.” Mindy closed her soft, sweet beautiful eyes and as a model for Dusty, went to sleep.



Last Year…

I wrote “today’s” post last year and at the time I was at a conference and I was looking at homes in Colorado springs. I found one I liked and would have bought if I’d been able to. It was very well priced and in my first-choice town. I loved it. I would have enjoyed living in the house. However, I couldn’t really make an offer with no money down and a house not yet on the market. It was a dismaying moment because I knew prices in Colorado Springs were going to rise when summer came (they did) and that this house would sell. It did.

All part of the process that resulted in my moving to Heaven, the San Luis Valley and into the little house at the top of this post.

I love it here, but I have friends in Colorado Springs. Moving here I had to start completely from scratch. If you have never done that it’s similar to and different from starting a new school in the middle of 9th grade. It took me months to get ready to go out and meet people. That was a long period of self-discovery. Now, I have accomplished that and have met people I like very much — and I know it’s mutual. It’s very sweet but, at the same time, it’s still stressful. I’m shy and in the midst of so much change, a person is challenged with rediscovering and even redefining one’s identity, like in the witness protection program?

Anyway, as is the case with wishes, some come true exactly as they’re wished. Some com true in ways we could never have imagined. Some don’t come true at all.

Here’s last years post:

Daily Prompt: Three Coins in the Fountain, by Krista on March 21, 2014. Have you ever tossed a coin or two into a fountain and made a wish? Did it come true?



That really is it. I stopped doing this when I was a kid. “If wishes were horses, everyone would ride.” Wishes and nickles and close your eyes tight and make a wish and blow out the candles and what did you wish for? Don’t tell or it won’t come true. The best use of a wish is the clarification of desire and direction.

Yesterday I looked at houses. My retirement income is going to be small so I’m looking at houses only slightly above the bottom of the barrel. That’s OK. I’ve never (since home ownership began) lived in a “nice” house. They’ve both been odd houses other people wouldn’t want that needed some work.

Yesterday I “made a wish.” Anyway, it felt like it. I filed for retirement. For real. I almost felt like I had closed my eyes and was blowing out the candles on a birthday cake as I filled in the little blanks on the two forms. Perhaps I held my breath. But the “haggis is in the fire” the “Rubicon is crossed” there’s “no turning back” and a million other appropriate clichés.

So…my wishes are mixed. I wish I hadn’t been pushed to this decision. I wish I had a slightly larger income (but I can find a job teaching part time here, maybe). I wish I hadn’t had to make this decision alone — but we really make all decisions alone except maybe pregnancy, and I have good friends and allies and was lucky to meet a realtor yesterday who’s motivated to help me find a home and I have choices. And there is this. We all have knowledge inside about our biological selves and I’m 62. This decision, this moment, is more the result of that than anything else. I made it because I COULD. It’s an option I didn’t have last year or the year before. There’s a twilight zone in which a person is too old to find new work and too young to retire. All a person can do is put the bit between their teeth and GO as long as he has to, steering the way between obstacles, loading up the cart if he has to (I had to) to keep a life together. It takes courage when the options change to stop and look around when everything has depended on hard running. “What if I COULD change my life? What if I COULD have more time for things and people I love?”

A little voice whispers, “You can.” Terrifying, disorienting savior of a little voice.

Yesterday I looked at a little house. It is in the part of town where Italian immigrants lived back in the day. Against the porch leaned an old concrete statue of St. Frankie. I IMG_1029straightened him. I’m not Catholic but I like St. Frankie and all the other statues who are there to remind us to have some faith, hope and compassion. I don’t think there can be too many of these. The house was very pretty inside. I could imagine a Calabrian couple, happy to have their own home, maintaining it with the particular fastidious of which I’m familiar and fond. The house had been cared for all it’s 100+ years. I wish, hope that maybe I’ll be able to live there.


Colorado or Bust Blog… Update

Many of you have also been following the blog I set up for friends who wanted to know how things were going as I made the big move from California to Colorado. Since the move is pretty much OVER at the point, I’m planning to set the blog to private rather than killing it altogether. If you’d like to continue having access to it and want to read any posts that might appear in the future, just let me know and I’ll add your name to the list of people with permission to access the blog.

Writing that blog has been incredibly fun — and very helpful to me during some of the more challenging times of the move and I’m deeply grateful for all the moral support I got from the blog’s readers over the past two months as this move has been accomplished! http://marthagoeshome.wordpress.com/

All They’d Have to Do Is…

Daily Prompt Trick or Trick It’s Halloween, and you just ran out of candy. If the neighborhood kids (or anyone else, really) were to truly scare you, what trick would they have to subject you to?

…give me daily prompt like this one would do it! Seriously? You want a REAL answer to this in a PUBLIC place?  As for fear — I’ll tell you about fear. You really want that? There’s nothing funny about it. For the last five — six — years I’ve been intermittently frightened and with reason, but before that? Oh baby. I’m not a person who likes scary movies or scary stories. I’ve had a scary life. You want details?

SO, instead, a little post about moving into new places on Hallowe’en. Not in the least scary, sorry…

Three times now I’ve moved into a new place around Hallowe’en. The first to my first apartment as a single woman. It was an upstairs apartment in a duplex near Washington Park in Denver; it dated from the turn of the century. It was never meant to be an apartment, but the upstairs to the downstairs. It had no heat unless the guy downstairs turned it on and I opened the door leading downstairs. The apartment saw many adventures, perhaps typical adventures of the newly-single 20 something. I moved from there in spring to an efficiency in the Bat Guano Arms in Capital Hill. Though the place was not “me” (meaning it was modern and convenient) I had a happy six months there but around the middle of October, 1979, I saw my dream apartment in The Dalton.

My lease to Bat Guano Arms was over on October 31 so I planned to move into The Dalton on the first of November. (If you follow the link, my apartment is what they now call “The Canterbury” and you can see actual photos of it…not as it was when I lived there, but… My rent was $145/month.) I had a VW Bug, Blue and helpers with their cars. My best friend — let’s call her Windy — and a guy from work who wanted to do me and felt helping me move was a decent payment on that opportunity. My dream apartment in Denver was a lot like my little dream house here in Monte Vista.

You don’t have a lot of stuff when you live in an efficiency apartment. All I had of any mass was my dad’s desk — which I managed to fit into the back of my bug. Don’t ask me how, but it had become a “thing” with me to prove that anything a semi-truck could do my VW could do…in more trips, of course.

The night was Denver fall — chilly but not terribly cold, with the oblique light of an autumn sunset. At a certain point we found ourselves in a store near a favorite bookstore. Was it a drugstore? I don’t know, but I think so.  It had a lunch counter, surprising to us. A German couple ran the store. They asked us to sit down. They served us cider and an assortment of canapes. The moment was disorienting enough to change the character of the evening. From then on, it seemed enchanted.

The sky went from orange/purple to black half-moon night as we took the last furniture into my new apartment. I had no bed yet, so I slept in the old place, knowing I would have a bed the next day — a futon for which I’d “mortgaged” my car. I would pick it and the frame up the next day and bring them back in my Bug (two trips).  I loved living there and nothing less than the chance to live and work in China could have shifted me out.



Right, Like I’d Do That Twice

Daily Prompt Out of Breath We all seem to insist on how busy, busy, busy we constantly are. Let’s put things in perspective: tell us about the craziest, busiest, most hectic day you’ve had in the past decade.

I’m not interested in reliving this, OK? Not any of the breathless moments. In fact, Daily Prompt, I think it might be over between us. It could be me it could be you (don’t know) but where once I looked forward to this moment and my coffee every day, for a while, I haven’t. Sometimes I’ve felt actively disappointed.

Yesterday I got  a comment on a post I did some time back. The comment was just a knee-jerk reaction to what the reader “thought” I said, not to what I had said. I felt that I had no “right’ to write, “Did you read this?” and that is a wall. It’s strange that a person can read something and NOT understand it and comment and that’s OK. Good manners says the comment should be “respected.” I felt inhibited from writing back, “Spare me your knee jerk reactions, OK? You don’t get it.”  OH well. Probably I’m too tired and frazzled and confused from all the changes in my life over the past few months. Maybe this will be entertaining again when I’m settled, my stuff is put away, I am no longer aching from carrying stuff and have had a real good nights sleep — my brain is hyper-active as well as my body is exhausted, from settling into a new life in which I do not really know who I am or what I will do and be.

You Ain’t From These Parts

Daily Prompt Welcome, Stranger Think about the town where you currently live: its local customs, traditions, and hangouts, its slang. What would be the strangest thing about this place for a first-time visitor? (Thanks for inspiring this prompt, Tamarah Rockwood!)

– The thing is, Dude, I’m the stranger.
– You ARE! So Lamont, how are you going to “blend” in once you get your house and you live there?
– I have managed that in the past by simply taking my time and sticking to myself for the most part. The thing is, you put yourself out there too much and you will rub people the wrong way without even trying. The best thing is to just do your own thing and wait until something that pertains to you comes by. I don’t do a lot of the things most people do. I don’t go to church, I am not married, I don’t have kids or grandkids. I don’t watch any sports, football, in particular brings people together. People tend to think that when you DON’T do what they do that you 1) look down on them for doing it, or, 2) they think you don’t know any better and they try to convert you. I don’t look down on anyone and I’m very unlikely to be converted to something I’ve examined and rejected. It usually takes a while for people to understand that whatever they do is fine by me, but I don’t want to join them. This is especially true of church, I’m afraid. And, this move I won’t be (immediately? ever?) working at a job so I won’t be meeting people there. I’m going to be a pretty solitary soul for a while in my new town and that’s OK.
– Won’t you be lonely?
– Yeah, I will be, sometimes, but it’s OK. I’ve waited a long time for the chance to  paint and write — even just to take a real walk. Maybe just walking will ultimately restore my ability to hike; I don’t know. Walking dogs is a good way to meet people. I’ll finally be able to do the things I need to do for me…well, I don’t want to write about all that. While all that’s going on, I’ll get a feel for the town.
– But you’re from California. You know how people in Colorado feel about California!
– I know. The thing is, I’m not “from” California.
– To these people you will be.
– I know. I’ve already experienced some of that even with people I know. I’ll admit, it annoys me. Until someone has lived in California, they have NO idea what it’s really like. People have their “ideas” about it and that’s it. The reality is far different. Like my real estate agent/friend. She harps on about anti-freeze and oil and doesn’t listen when I say, “I know. I’ve been living in a place that gets into the teens in winter.” She just answers, “There’s no winter in California.”
– She really said that?
– Yeah. I’m sure she knows better, but in my case she just thinks “San Diego” and… Yeah.
– More to the point, I spent thirty years in California. I’ve spent the other thirty-two in Colorado and Nebraska. OH well…
– California is easy street, right? All oranges and movie stars and sex on the beach.
– Absolutely.
– No one’s going to believe you’re moving to the San Luis Valley because life in California was too hard and too expensive.
– Nope.
– What are you going to do about that?
– Get a Colorado drivers license, new plates for my car — maybe a new car — and fade into the woodwork with my brushes, my paint, my lap top. Otherwise, I have to set up my life here — unpack — breathe. It will just take time.


No Way! My Life is PERFECT!

Daily Prompt To-Do? Done! Quickly list five things you’d like to change in your life. Now, write a post about a day in your life once all five have been crossed off your to-do list.

I don’t keep lists. A list is one more thing to keep track of. Life is not about crossing things off a list. If it is, you’re asleep, disengaged with the moment, with life itself.

However, right now I’m preparing for a move half-way across the country. It involves a lot of un-routine activities. I ran across a book last year, Moving Gracefully, which, at the time I got it, I thought, “God, what a simple-minded piece of work this is!” Luckily, the woman knew her audience because anyone going through this needs things spelled out in simple language with useful…lists.

And, every day, I cross something off those lists. I started doing that last year. Even before I knew I was moving, I knew I would someday. Slowly, things have been accomplished and it seems they’ve been done by someone other than I.

I know the facts of this move thing because of the lists in that book. Some lists are steps, some lists are reminders (turn off your utilities, update the tags on your dogs, be sure you take out the trash before you move your trash can). I’ve repaired, decluttered and cleaned. I’ve taken the dogs away so people can look at the house. I’ve packed and thrown things out. I “listened” when she said, “If movers ask for a deposit, don’t trust them; real movers don’t.” So, step, by step, by step I’ve followed the book.

In a few days, I’ll be out of this house. I was once so in love with it and the idea of living here, in the mountains, that I could not imagine ever wanting to go. Now it doesn’t seem like “the mountains.” It seems, in the intervening 11 years, to have turned into something else; just a house and not my home. Coming to grips with leaving the dream of it was a process, too, but that’s completed. Now I see myself and my dogs as vagabonds in a rented mini-van driving across Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado in search of a new home. It’s the big empty, the American desert, rock formations and Navajo, wild horses. I can’t wait.


Racing Cross the Desert at 100 Miles an Hour…

“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven..” John Milton, Paradise Lost

– Key words there, Paradise Lost.
– What are you going on about?
– There’s no where to go that I wouldn’t be if I went.
– I think this is another one of those prompts about “Where would you go if money were no object?” It’s just a tunnel not a, dunno, plane or something, or time machine. The tunnel could be a cosmic worm hole. Or a moving truck which is essentially a tunnel on wheels, right?
– Yeah, basically.
– So, Lamont, where would your tunnel go?
– Not feeling this, VIMH, in spite of your excellent efforts. All places are the same place in a significant way — as Milton pointed out, or, rather had the devil point out. And, at this moment, my whole LIFE is preparation for entering a tunnel and coming out in Colorado. I was hoping the WP prompt would give me a few minutes of escape from that this morning, but it’s not to be.
– You could write a story!
I’m writing a story. It’s going pretty well, too. It is odd how many times in my life I’ve been in the midst of personal turmoil and voila! I start writing a good story. I’m grateful for that mysterious phenomenon, though.
– So you wouldn’t go anywhere?
– I’m TRYING to go here:

311 Bronk

– That’s not much. Your current house is a lot cooler looking. This is just a little white house on a flat yard.
– I know what it is, VIMH. And yeah, it’s pretty nondescript, but it’s brick and stone. The roof is newer. Inside? I don’t actually know that completely yet. I’ve only looked through the windows while the remodel was going on. But this Saturday, I’ll get to see it. Yeah, it’s a nondescript little white house in a small Colorado town, but I think it will feel like home to me. I’ve been on a lot of adventures in my life, as you know VIMH, but the end of all adventures SHOULD be a place called “home.” That’s where I’m going. Snowy mountains, wide valleys, rushing rivers, farms and ranches, the whole wild west world in which I grew up. Towns that END, not infinite urban sprawl. Since the mind IS its own place, it deserves a chance to open, to relax, to be free. That, in my mind, is home. For me, I believe, it will be here, under this funky pagoda roof. I hope.


Home (?) Again

Me and Pikes Peak Full pic


For a six day trip (one of which, today, was ONLY traveling) it seems as if I’ve been gone from California for much longer. I had a marvelous time of discovery — not only of the place I want to live but many important and interesting things about myself and my life. Now “all” that needs to happen is that my house needs to sell, and though it feels as if it’s been on the market forever, it hasn’t even been two weeks.


I’ll try to catch up with the prompts I like on WordPress, meanwhile it was very surprising and gratifying to discover that 300 people have followed my blog! Thank you!

Selling a House – A Dog’s Life

This is a pretty hard business; worse would be having no home to sell and I know that very well, but… It means the house has to be spotless all the time. I get up at 6:30, make coffee and breakfast, write and then clean, not knowing if anyone will want to see the house or not. So far the ratio is 3 viewings over 5 days and considering that the house is kind of out of town, I think that’s pretty good.

I get an hour’s heads up so I can contend with my dogs before someone comes to see it. I want people to see it. I want to sell it and move. It took almost two years to wrap my head around the possibility of leaving this place that I chose out of love not out of logic, but I’ve made the transition and it’s time to go. It’s financially time to go, too.

But the dogs. I have three large dogs. Dusty is 80 pounds, Mindy is 60 and Lily, poor old thing, is nearly 50. All of them are hairy — even a short-haired dog like Dusty sheds and he might be part lab or some other short haired breed with a thick under coat. The others? Well, Lily is a Siberian husky of advanced years (nearly 15).

I wasn’t sure what to do — dogs are not everyone’s favorite and I didn’t want them here when someone was looking at the house. The first time I put the girls in the dog run and Dusty in the car with me and took off. It was OK, but there is some nasty, dog-killing grass in the dog run and I spent a long time getting it out of the dogs’ coats. Not ideal. The next time? I put them all in the car and they LOVED it! I thought it wouldn’t work. It’s a Ford Focus. A sedan. It’s not a “dog mobile.” I have a tough, dog-proof hammock in the back seat to protect the seats and that’s where Mindy and Dusty go. Lily has to come in front with me. It’s dangerous and tight and not ideal, but she feels happy there. She’s deaf and blind and my hand on her shoulder as we drive around makes her happy.

Monday we went for gas, dropped a donation off at Goodwill then hung out in the parking lot of the local library for 30 minutes to give the people time to see the house. Now? There’s nothing they want to do more than get in a hot car with me and drive around crammed together and barely balancing on the seats. I took Lily and Mindy for shots today — a 25 minute drive to a pet supply store. Dusty was hurt he couldn’t go!

So, as scary, expensive, frustrating and emotionally and physically difficult as this has been, I have decided to take my cue from my dogs. They are just plain happy whatever happens as long as we are all together, even in a hot car, inhaling dog hair, with music and air conditioning cranked up as high as they will go.