a ‘new’ Jersey Girl   living life in the Highlands of New Jersey

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Dream vs Reality

I can finally share our news with you after waiting several weeks until Rick's "phased" retirement was announced at work. It's going to happen. Our dream of retiring to the cabin is about to come to realization -- much sooner than what we had orignally planned. Originally we had our sights set on the spring of 2016, but we decided not to wait. After weighing all the variables we decided waiting another year did not really make much difference money-wise and that we were pretty much good-to-go. That being said, Rick has given notice at work (a set date not being given until the house sells) and we plan to put the house up for sale on April 1st. 

If the house sells, great. If it doesn't sell before September we will take it back off the market for the winter and Rick will continue working. We'll put the house back on in Februray 2016 and hope for the best.

Will the whole experience live up to our lofty dreams of how it will be living in a 1,000 square foot log cabin powered by the sun and wind? Or will the whole thing be a bust? You can follow our journey on the new blog Off the Grid where we'll be posting (for right now) about preparing to go. Rick already has a series of posts up which you might find interesting including the whole history that we have with Sand Creek Park and also of the building of the cabin. Come see what happens!

Monday, December 08, 2014


Belonging. It's an interesting word, yes? What does it mean to you? To me it means feeling at home, as if everything is right and in its right place. A good fit. I can't sleep tonight so I am here in front of the computer. Rick, both dogs and the cat are sound asleep in the bedroom above me. 

When we first arrived here in New Jersey I felt as if I was coming home again. After all, I had been born and lived the first twelve years of my life only two hours from where we live today. I felt as if the very soil beneath my feet was part of me and not that dry dusty soil of Colorado that I had called home for nearly thirty years.

My mom was living only three hours away from us too at this point. We loved our house, Rick loved his job. We embraced the newness of it all just like we had embraced the newness of Germany, then the Netherlands, and France. 

The thing is, that after a few years in those foreign countries, as much as we loved the experience of it all we were always ready to come home after several years. As much as we loved them; they were not home. We didn't belong.

When Rick first took this job in New Jersey it was supposed to be for five years, until the company was sold. They ended up selling the company much sooner than expected (after only not quite three years after we moved here) and the company went from being a wonderful family-run atmosphere to a very corporate one. Just like Hewlettt Packard from which we had been jettisoned and the reason we moved in the first place. Since then the job has become more of what the acquiring company wants them to do than what the original founders had wanted. 

I too loved it and all the differences to Colorado. I enjoyed the gray days instead of sunshine all the time. (Silly me!) The moist humid air. (Ha!) All the trees and the need to not have a watering system in place to water the grass. Mother Nature took care of that most years. 

The pool. Ah ... the pool. A revelation indeed. We didn't want one, yet we found it gave us great pleasure. I will miss it.

But somewhere in the past two years (of which the death of Alex was pivotal) things changed. We had an epiphany at the cabin that changed our view for ever after. Just what where we doing here in New Jersey? We have no ties here. It's very hard to move somewhere where people have relationships with other couples going back to when their children went to school together. They have never lived anywhere else. Rick and I do not have those deep-rooted relationships connected with living in one place for as long as we've lived; nor do we have the child aspect of things. We have always been people who have experienced living in many different places and cultures instead of just one place. It is a different lifestyle. Not better or worse; just different. We don't belong here.

That dry sunny dusty rain-starved place called Colorado has my soul more than the East where I had been born. After all, I had only lived 12 years in New York before we moved to Florida (which I consider the South, not the East). Colorado shaped and formed me as an adult and it left its mark. As did the 70 acres of land and a 1,000 square foot cabin in the high prairie of Northern Colorado. It's where we both feel at peace. Like we were meant to be there. Living off-grid in our small battery-and wind-powered cabin. Where the deer, moose, elk and antelope play and the roads are not plowed in winter. Where the wind blows nearly all the time. Where the coyotes sing to the moon. Where the Milky Way shines in the night sky. Where the sound of silence is deafening.

Where we really and truly belong.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Mesilla Mariachi

On the Sunday of our New Mexico visit we had lunch at La Posta in old Mesilla. It's a charming old section of town. After our lunch we could hear music, so we followed the sound to the town square. They were having a mariachi band competition and there was also several forms of native dance. The children caught and held my attention. They were such great little performers and danced with zeal. What follows are my favorite photos of them. Which one is your favorite?

The girls swirled and twirled, making the most of their skirts.

All too soon the dance was over. Adiós amigos!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Visit to Las Cruces, New Mexico: Vaughn’s 89th

A sotol plant shows off its plumes in front of a changing tree.

I know, I know. Shocking to see a blog entry from me, eh? 

This weekend Rick and I flew down to Las Cruces, New Mexico to celebrate (a little bit early) his father's 89th birthday. It turned out to be a small family renioun with Rick's brother and sister, cousins and dear friends of Lynn & Vaughn. It was a bit of a whirlwind trip, but well worth it. 

We planned our trip just right because as I sit here typing snow is falling outside my window. Big sticky flakes that are turning the yard into a winter wonderland. We had wonderful smooth flights, avoided the high winds in El Paso, Texas and arrived home Monday night, well before the crush of holiday travelers and the snow storm. Truly a blessed trip!

Rick's mom did such a great job of planning all the events and keeping all of us together at the right place and appropriate time. Kudos, Lynn! It was great catching up with everybody and meeting people I had not met before. We stayed in a room at the Good Samaritan where his parents have a casita. It was really nice and all we had to do was walk a few steps over to their place. Since we didn't rent a car we were pretty dependent on other folks to cart us around, but it was not a problem at all.

Vaughn's birthday is really November 30th but it worked for best for everyone to celebrate a little early. We had his birthday celebration at a restaurant at noon on Saturday. We had party favors, balloons, leis, wine, food and lots of fun. After the party we visited the Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, which was fascinating. We really needed more time to thoroughly explore all the exhibits since they were pretty in depth. 

I will do a separate post with more photos from the museum. I really enjoyed the Cowboy exhibit the best. One round building on the grounds had various cut-outs of different farming/ranching scenes. This one below reminded me of the song by Ian Tyson "Jaquima to Freno" which is about the old Mexican vaquero's which were kind of like horse whisperers. 

"Hey Mr. Vaquero ...

Put a handle on my pony for me,

Teach me the mystery."

You can listen to the song here. It is basically about taking a horse from being wild, to the halter and finally to a bit and bridle.

We also walked through a native cactus garden that is just down the street from the parents' house. Again, I plan to do a blog post with photos just for that as well, but here is a tiny taste of what is to come.

Not to forget the most prominent thing we did: EAT. And, we ate. And we ate. And we ate again. It seemed like we went from one food event right to the next. All of it was great. We are jealous of all the good restaurants they have to choose from in Las Cruces. 

So that was our short trip in a nutshell. It was fun but it's good to be home! We are looking forward to Thanksgiving turkey tomorrow! Hope you have a good one!

Monday, October 13, 2014

It’s All About the GOLD

Our fall here in New Jersey is usually beautiful, filled with every color you can think of. Not this year, though. I guess the trees were starved for moisture and many of them never turned, just curled up their leaves and let them go. We have a little color here and there but nothing like usual.

In Colorado the fall is golden. Pure, spun gold is what the aspens (and the cottonwoods) turn. This year was a spectacular year for them -- wow. I did share some some photos on Facebook, but for those of you who are not on Facebook I wanted to post some here. 

We took a drive one day and a picnic lunch of leftover fried chicken to view the colors. Our trip was on dirt roads (or course, what else?) along the Laramie River Valley.

Aspens don't always have to turn gold. Some turn orange and some get to a glorious shade of orangey-red. I've been told that it has to do with the mineral in the soil. Since aspen within their groves all share the same root system, the results can be magnificent, or they can be mixed.




I love this old cabin/barn and the remains of what were other buildings. I like to think of some crusty old cowboy living here.

Here is Bull Mountain as seen from the road near our property. 

Whether viewed en masse or alone ...

... they are always a beautiful sight.

(I know I've been terrible about blogging and I'm sure some of you have dropped me off your reading list. I am sorry and vow to do a better job of blogging and commenting on your blogs.)


Welcome, I'm Lynne. My blog captures my experiences of living in the way-out suburbs of New Jersey through my words and through my photography. I hope that reading my blog will change your perception of my newly adopted state.

© 2006-2013 'new' Jersey Girl All photography and text on this blog is copyright. For use or reproduction please ask me first.

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Recent Comments

  • Steve, wonderful! Glad you will be following along. The market is pretty good right now.…

    Posted to: ‘Dream vs Reality’ by Lynne Robinson on 02/24/2015

  • Exciting! I’ll add “Off The Grid” to my blog roll. What’s the real estate market…

    Posted to: ‘Dream vs Reality’ by Steve on 02/24/2015

  • What beautiful photos!  We were in Mesilla in 2009 for the Cinqo de Mayo festivities. …

    Posted to: ‘Mesilla Mariachi’ by Liz on 01/01/2015

  • Kim, but not just yet!

    Steve: Yes, I plan to blog on our new life…

    Posted to: ‘Belonging’ by Lynne Robinson on 12/12/2014

  • Wherever you feel happy and a sense of “belonging,” is where you need to be…

    Posted to: ‘Belonging’ by Bigsis on 12/10/2014

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