2020s, In My Opinion, inspiration, photography

IMO: Middle of the Night Reflections

Today is my birthday. I’m 59. It’s 2:15 in the morning, and I can’t sleep. This post is a year in review, of sorts. Quickly, though–I still have to get up in the morning and teach. And celebrate being 59.

Blogging: In years past, on the 13th day of the month I’d host a “Cindy’s Lucky 13 Film Club” post. I miss that, talking to friends about the film industry. Many times the post generated over 100 comments. As it stands, I have lost the thrill of watching movies on a regular basis. A favorite hobby run dry. Why? Covid broke the habit of going to the movies, for one reason. Streaming changed the way I find entertainment. I seem to watch TV series more. I loved watching: Timeless, Jamestown, Poldark, Astrid, and the Tudor trio series The Spanish Princess, The White Princess, and The White Queen. As far as films go, I will report that The Power of the Dog, The Courier, The Green Knight, Belfast, Dune were winners for me.

Health: I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. Do you want the list of issues and surgeries and hospitalizations and relapses? Don’t worry, I won’t waste your time. I confess I hate it when I’m in another doctor’s office, and they want to review my health conditions. In the end, I feel like a walking timebomb. What happened to the athlete from twenty years ago? How can living an active life of hard work and activity cause one’s body to break down? When I start to feel sorry for myself, I only have to consider all the people who are suffering from diseases I don’t have or are completely immobile. I believe “a body in motion, stays in motion” so I move. I will share when I was 17 riding my bicycle, I was hit in the back by a truck at an intersection. That began a lifetime of pain. Add a bad gene pool combined with too many hours at the computer–that recipe will ruin anyone’s body. But I’m not giving up. I am back at the gym, moving, stretching, building muscles. It feels good to do the right thing. I must.

Grief: Mom’s been gone for a year and a half. Blunt force trauma for me. A turning point. Juncture. Crossroads. Pick your synonym. Watching her die of cancer was too painful. People die every day. It was her turn. I get it. Anyway, time is softening the blow. The result of her loss caused me to return to the Catholic church. My mind took a break from religion a few years back because I was mad. Now I don’t care about my thoughts on religion. I just need to go to mass. I don’t care if you think that’s silly.

Grief is the ambivalence of pain and numbness. Grieving is the absence of rational thought. It’s thrashing about in a pool of overwhelming feelings. These days, I just talk to her. We are all on journeys with beginnings and ends. It’s all okay.

Writing: So that book. I have been too numb to be creative. I am normally a goal-oriented, follow-through kind of gal, so I suspect I will finish it. I’ve only the final chapter to write before the editing begins. Since it’s about WW2, my new goal is to complete it before the 80th anniversary. My self-pity shrinks when I think about the destruction and the lost souls during the war. I feel a personal debt is owed to the men and women who served. I love what my flag symbolizes. I don’t care if you think that’s silly.

The Move: Sometimes you just gotta change it up. Stir the pot. Clean the slate. The changes in my head, heart, and soul instigated the crazy move from Arizona to Virginia. It’s happening in stages. Stage one — sell the house. Stage two — get a job in Virginia and finish out the current contract. We wait. Jim and I are happy in our motor home with our big sky and beautiful view. We listen to music, get buzzed, and sleep heavily.

I have an interview for a job today! What a nice birthday present if I got the job, yes? It is to teach German to eighth-graders. I am not fluent, but I have a fun time getting them to love learning Deutsch. In my current position, I have four preps and report to three departments. My Master’s degrees are in history and English. German was a minor because I had the lofty goal of earning a Ph.D. That did not happen. However, for seventeen years now, I teach English Composition courses as an online adjunct for a community college in Virginia. I rationalize I achieved the lofty goal. At 59, I’m too young to retire. I will continue to teach because I can. And, I like to earn money and spend it on trips. I don’t care if you think that’s silly.

Love: I’m feeling it a lot lately. My list of what I’m grateful for keeps growing like my love for my husband, my children, and my grandchildren. My dog. I want to live. I want to see and celebrate my 60th birthday in style doing something crazy cool around all those I love. I love my blogging friends, too. Who knew you would all be more real to me than the people I pass on the street?

I don’t care. And I care greatly. I am a work in progress. I thought being 59 meant I would have it all figured out. I know nothing. There’s bliss in that.

2020s, adventure, family, Five Shots of..., five shots...., glamping, nature, photography, travel

Dear Friends,

Ruby on board at Sunroad Resort Marina, San Diego

Some summer breaks are uneventful for weeks at a time before an international trip happens. Weeks go by waiting for the big bang of adventure far, far away. Other summers, little trips happen–two days here, five days there–throughout the whole summer. This was my 2021 summer. You might recall a recent post at the beginning of June when Jim and I went to Cerritos Beach outside of Todos Santos, Mexico for a week. That was a great kick off to the summer.

Nothing eventful occurred until the end of June when I had rotator cup surgery which required three screws and nine sutures. Ouch.

Covid had kept our family members away from each other. A joy, then, to reunite with my daughter-in-law and grandson who stayed for a ten day visit. Whenever friends and family visit, we become tourists which is important. Seeing one’s neighborhood through the eyes of others is a perspective that keeps me grateful. Jim took his daughter on the Williams, AZ train to the Grand Canyon. We revisted Montezuma’s Castle, an ancient Anasazi monument in Camp Verde, AZ.

Ben and the Gene Autry Cowboy
Anna, Ben & Montezuma’s Castle

My son visited for a weekend. It had been a long time, so I tried something special and booked two nights at a Phoenix resort, so I could visit with my grandchildren and two sons at a fun location. We spent the days in the pool and had a blast.

My son, Paul, the accountant
San Diego skyline

Jim and I reconnected after the kids left, and we took Ruby with us to San Diego. We tried staying in a sailboat for a few nights at the harbor. What a fun glamping experience.

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery

Atop a ridge overlooking San Diego on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other was a somber final resting place for veterans. It felt like visiting Arlington National Cemetery with manicured grounds and white marble headstones symetrically placed over many acres.

Ruby and Jim

Always ready to fish, Jim and Ruby spend the mornings in the ocean.

A Pacific Croaker
Inside the sailboat

It was pristine and quiet in the marina. Our boat was just right for two adults and a dog.

Ocean Beach, San Diego

After exploring several beaches on the coast, we headed back home to our Arizona desert. The water followed us as monsoons hit the Phoenix area with great force. Up north where we live, it has rained for days now. Our drought-suffering region needs it.

Crimped and tired, Ruby.

Now I’m done with summer adventures. The school year starts up on August 2. I did not write much in July. I’m hoping to spend the remaining week getting a chapter out of the way. Thinking kind thoughts of you all.

Love & Friendship,

Cindy

1 Shot Wednesday, 2020s, nature, photography, Virginia

One Shot Wednesday: Cold Mountain

Blue Ridge Mountains, Virgina

We recently returned from a visit to see family in Staunton, Virgina in the Shenandoah Valley. Allegheny Mountains to the west, and Blue Ridge Mountains to the east, the 140 mile (225km) valley is one of the prettiest drives in the country. Here was our view one morning. By the way, one of my favorite films, Cold Mountain (2003) was filmed in Virginia, not North Carolina.