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.

IMO: Vivaldi’s Winter, The Four Seasons

Except for a small lamp, I am sitting in the dark and face the computer screen. It is four in the morning. I’m grading college English composition papers where students compared and contrasted Ulysses S. Grant to Robert E. Lee. After the fifteenth one, my mind wandered and entered that zone where it splits–one side hears music while the other grades. I lose myself. On Pandora, Vivaldi’s “Winter” from Four Seasons begins.

It occurred to me that it has been twenty years since I last listened to Vivaldi’s “Winter.” It was four in the morning. I lived in the wasteland of Illinois during winter. Icy, bitter below-zero cold. The stars flickered, the air crackled, and the sun rose and changed the black into a powder blue sky. The sun teased, but the hope of warmth would not come that day.

I drove ninety minutes from my hometown to Illinois State University. My teenage kids still slept. They would get themselves up and eat breakfast and cross the street to school without my orchestration. Excited was I to be in college, and I fell in love with academia. I was in my thirties at the time and amazed by how little I knew about everything–history, literature, classical music, art, architecture, foreign languages, philosophy, and geography. I was starving and ate it up.

There is nothing to look at during the winter in central Illinois. The corn fields have been harvested. The expanse and flatness and dingy colors combined with the cold temperatures–well, that’s why I live in Arizona now. Two decades ago, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons played in the car. The first cup of coffee had worn off, and I was in that lull where one part of me heard the music while another part drove.

How wonderful then, today at four in the morning, that a time warp occurred. “Winter” by Vivaldi began on Pandora and triggered that long ride to campus. I was that non-traditional student traveling distances to learn. This morning, I am the instructor on the other side of the desk, that is, the other side of the computer who grades the paper I once wrote. Tied by Vivaldi, the music became a mirror, and I sat on both sides and said “Hello.”

Red Rocks, Valleys & Writing

The Verde Valley with Mingus Mountain at the horizon
Shaded mound, Sedona Red Rocks at the edge of Sycamore Canyon
hiking the Red Rocks
Devil’s Head plateau
Two Caves
Standing on Devil’s Bridge
All of it.

It’s 1928, and fictional characters Kay, the Hopi Indian, along with Sally and George are included in a gentleman’s exploration of Sycamore Canyon with a band of real-life characters.

     Sally sat on a tall, blonde horse next to the others and tried not show her nervousness. She had little experience riding, but she wouldn’t miss this opportunity to be around these many men who interested her: The director, William Howard, who she hoped would cut her a break and let her do more in his next picture than stand around now as an extra in The Thundering Herd. His cinematographer, Lucien Adroit,  who was excited to film footage for a future project. Jack Holtz was an established star in Howard’s westerns. Zane Grey was a famous writer and his stories were made into movies by Paramount Pictures. Adventurer Billy Clark was the grandson of William A. Clark, the copper baron. As a major stockholder, Billy oversaw the United Verde Copper Company and the company town, Clarkdale. Finally, she was sweet on Gary Cooper. This was his first film, and he had charmed Howard with his potential to be a star. His face was soft and his eyes dreamy. She saw them as a dynamic couple where they could help each other rise to stardom. She wanted to kiss him and mean something to him, but if not, at least he was good looking and more fun to flirt with than the other older men. This camping expedition had a purpose. Sally knew from her mother that it was the associations you made that got your foot in the door, not your talent. One of these men would bend her way and help her advance. She would see to it.

     William Howard picked her a gentle mare named Marigold, and as she sat there waiting, Sally relaxed a bit and let the anticipation fill her. They were on the top of a plateau looking north across the valley to a range of bluffs layered in red sandstone, limestone, and siltstone. To get there would take all morning after a gradual descent across exposed flat land through juniper and creosote bushes and a large mound which Zane Grey said was a volcanic deposit, but to Sally, the solitary hill made her think of a chocolate Hershey’s Kiss…

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑