Five Shots: Off the Grid & Family

Where have I been? Like millions of other people, summertime is for adventures and catching up with family. I have been working hard at revisions for my second novel and forbade myself to blog until they were completed. Additionally, my summer days have been full of grandchildren, reunions, and glamping. Yes, Jim and I are glampers. Too old and spoiled to sleep in tents and on the ground, not a fan of RVs or its parks, so we bought a teardrop camper. It feels like a crime that we have lived in AZ for seven years, and we’ve rarely been to our neighboring states. All those National Parks waiting for us. All those lakes to fish and kayak. Here are some shots of our first glamping experience, a three-night trip to Eastern Arizona to the Mogollon Rim and the White Mountains.

Rim Glamping
Cindy Watching the Sun Set
Kayaking Woods Canyon Lake
Blue Heron
Lake Hawley
Kayaking on Lake Hawley
Campsite at Lake Hawley
Chipmunk
Herefords at Hawley Lake
Horse and Wild Iris
Monsoon Coming
Clouds over Hawley Lake

Grands and Children and Siblings and an Uncle and Mom. Hope you are getting your fill of family and adventure this summer!

 

Next week, off to London & Scotland. 🙂 

 

1 Shot Wednesday: March Street

My stepfather died three years ago. 

Photos trigger memories and transport one to the past. That is the purpose of the Wednesday 1 Shot series.

This photo is from my hometown in Illinois. Just a typical street on the blue-collar side of town. The sky lacks definition. A misty rain coats the trees making them look gangly and tragic. Cracked streets and decaying homes suggest depression in our town.

The setting echoed how our family felt about the passing of a steadfast man who devoted decades to my mother–mind, body, and soul. Maintaining his corner of the world with dedication, he ignored the drama of humans surrounding him and expressed love with pride in his home and garden. He was a man who showed love not with words or touch but by action.

At this point, he would wave me off and tell me not to be so melodramatic. So I will try to obey. I raise my beer can and salute. “Thanks for taking care of Mom.”

March. Sadness & Hope

The wind blows. Soon, the leaves will fill the branches. The sun will return. Soon, a walk down this simple street in the heart of my town will elicit the nostalgic scenes from my youth and replace the chill. But not today.

 

IMO: 2018

2018 was like riding a temperamental thoroughbred without a saddle. An exceptional year set at a furious pace containing great and horrible events. I am exhausted. Since we have already concluded the first week of 2019, will the fast pace set up the new year as a repeat? I regret not posting enough or following your blogs to the extent you have written them. In exchange for sporadic blogging, I spent my time completing my second novel, Inside the Gold Plated Pistol. That feels very good indeed! Wish me luck as I search for an agent who might see something worthy in the narrative. A sweet cherry was given to me when Arizona’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology compiled and edited by Z Publishing House featured an excerpt from my novel (www.zpublishing.com). Inside the Gold Plated Pistol is the second installment in a six-part series chronicling new heroes of the United States from the twentieth century. It took me five years to research and write it. Good grief, I’ll be 76 by the time I finish the project. Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Hurry, Cindy!

winter fire ring
Winter Fire Ring

Since “rushed time” is my theme, here are a few pictures that represent the highs and lows of 2018. Let’s go backward.

For two weeks we have been entertaining family. Our guests wanted snow. And they got it. Arizona had a couple big snow storms recently. Kids and grandkids had fun sledding and appreciating that strange white stuff in the White Mountains on the eastern side of the state. Returning to North Central AZ was problematic. On New Year’s Eve, it took eleven hours to drive through a sudden storm with blinding snow and freezing temperatures. Back home, the snow had melted and we are back to 50-degree temperatures.

The late summer and fall contained the busiest workload I’ve thrown on myself in years. I did it. But I don’t remember how.

In June I took a group to Rome and Sorrento and had a blast.

Sorrento at Dusk

After twenty-six years of being divorced, the end of April was special as I married Jim on our version of the “Love Train”.

april wedding
April Wedding

It was a dream come true to see our two sides of the family mingle in one location. It certainly was the highlight of the year.

the gross time
The Gross Time

The start of 2018 was a nightmare. In short, I was in and out of the hospital from Jan – April multiple times. Thirteen times to the E.R., tests, tests, and more tests, two surgeries, a blood clot, two long distance ambulance rides, and $158k later, I was able to return to work and finish out the school year and marry at the end of the month. My liver and gallbladder were the culprits. The disgusting details surrounding their rebellion in my body I am still trying to repress.

Hiking in Sedona in December and January is the best time to explore the canyons as it is cool and refreshing. Here’s a shot from Fay Canyon about twenty minutes from my home. This right before my body shut down.

Winter Hike in Sedona

 

I’m not much a fan of newsletters sharing all the things one has done throughout the year, but I’ve noticed bloggers like listing and recapping their year. So why not? Let me include by sharing my favorite choices of entertainment in 2018.

Isle of Dogs

Colette

The Green Book

MI: Fallout

The Last Kingdom, Season 3

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Season 1

A Quiet Place

Roma

A Star is Born

The Happy Prince

Most Entertaining Book: The Sisters Brothers

There you go. What was your favorite movie or book of the year?

See, there’s snow in Arizona.

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