2020s, Colorado, family, In My Opinion, inspiration, love, nature, photography

IMO: Looking for Mom

Mom would frown and shake her head. “Good, God, stop crying. I wasn’t a saint, you know.”

Grief is a heavy activity. Doing one’s best not to cry is hard to do. Talking about it is exhausting. The permanence of her departure is a rock that’s heavy to carry. Just when a few days go by when I am not overcome with emotion, I start to relax. Then, boom! Triggers abound, and I am weeping in the car before heading into the grocers, or I am about to enter a room full of people. On goes the smile and I am ready to explain the puffy eyes and red nose as the result of a bad attack of allergies. 

Last week before the students and staff arrived, I walked down the wide, dark hallway of the school searching for hot water for my cup of tea. Out of nowhere, Mom’s face appeared sharply in front of me. Was I hallucinating? I was back at her side, patting her hand while she breathed heavily. I looked at her and her eye opened and stared at me. It was freaky to see her staring eye. Did she know it was me? I talked to her anyway, hoping she could hear. “Jenny washed you, Mom. You’re clean. You won! You are here in your home and we love you. We’ll be okay.” And just like that, she faded away and her eye turned to stone. In the dark hallway, I burst into tears and rushed back to my classroom muttering, “It’s going to be one of those days.”

Well, of course, none of us are okay, but we’ll adapt. I take comfort in knowing she’s in a better place. I believe that.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m overwhelmed, I always want to run away from home. So Jim and I did. I know God’s in nature as well as the church, and the colors and smells of nature is a place I go to connect and regroup. At Vallecito Lake, I saw Mom in what she loved about nature. 

The 15th was her birthday. I was glad to share the fall day with Mom surrounded by the beauty of Colorado. My gift to her was not crying. I felt lighter. I didn’t feel pain. She would have approved.

2010s, In My Opinion, movies


My Fellow Blogging Friends:

WP told me today I’ve been blogging for seven years. It feels appropriate to be nostalgic.

On November 25, 2012, I began my blog because I self-published my first novel and was told by everyone at Goddard College that I should start a blog to showcase The Knife with the Ivory Handle. So I tried, but I didn’t enjoy the self-promotion or posts about how to write. I found myself posting about what interests me other than writing novels like history, art, books, traveling, and photography.


The most satisfying part of blogging has been the many long conversations about movies with other bloggers. The Lucky 13 Film Club entries have been rewarding because others have taught me what makes a good movie. Discussing roles, actors and directorial choices is fun. The Winter Project studying a classic actor whose films I’m not too familiar with is a homework assignment I enjoy. BTW, this year’s choice is coming! Stay tuned.

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I never got into writing full reviews because I don’t think of myself as a film critic, but more of a lover of films. Sharing what has entertained me suits me more. Essential to my personality is finding the story in any art form. To all the many bloggers who have talked to me about the art of filmmaking, photography, writing, books, and music, I appreciate you more than you realize. Essential to my being is traveling. Thank you for allowing me to share my point-and-shoot photography and liking them.

look at those lemons
Look at those lemons.

It took six years, but Inside the Gold-Plated Pistol is published. I enjoyed sharing the research and experiencing your friendship and support. Writing a novel is a lonely process. 2014-2017 I’d say I spent more time on the blog than I did working on the historical fiction project. I teeter-totter between the two creative outlets wanting the emotional connection of blogging vs. the isolated hours of putting pen to paper to create a story that is coherent while creating complicated characters.


Did you know I went to college for seventeen years? I don’t feel very smart. In fact, my head feels pretty cloudy. Since my days obtaining degrees are over, I thought I’d be enjoying my fifties by blogging because my life was calmer. Instead, life is set at a madding pace. I believe the creative process is what makes a life worth living. This blog provides me the opportunity to post and visit your blogs. I am grateful. I have a great idea! Can’t we agree to have a “blogging convention” somewhere interesting to see each other face to face and celebrate life?

Med dinner
A Meditteranean dinner on the shore below Seville.

We could share an Italian dinner.

I’d serve you homemade Coconut Cream Pie for dessert.

Love & Friendship,


2010s, culture, In My Opinion, inspiration

IMO: This morning belonged to Murphy.

Here is what happened to me this morning in the following order beginning at 7:00a.m.

  1. I woke up late. I never sleep to 7.
  2. I had no coffee to grind for the percolator. I never go without coffee in the morning.
  3. I searched deep into the pantry and found decaffeinated. I never drink decaffeinated. It tasted disgusting.
  4. My kindergarten granddaughter wouldn’t do her homework and refused to brush her teeth. I’m never this late leaving the house to drive to my school.
  5. My gray sweater was wrinkled. My mascara was dry and clumpy. My hair was damp and limp. I never go to school like this.
  6. Today, for German class, I had scheduled a Weihnachten party to introduce my students to traditional goodies. Not only had I not made Stollen, Pfeffernüsse or Lebkuchen the night before, but I didn’t have time to purchase store-bought imitations. I had to rely on students to make the classic German cookies and remember to bring them in.
  7. I pulled into the school parking lot and someone had parked in my spot. Thus, I had to drive around the other side of the school and park in the guest parking while 900 people were trying to get inside school simultaneously.
  8. The school bell rang to start school, and I was nowhere near my classroom.
  9. I entered my room after the final bell, and when I turned on my computer to take attendance, the system had locked me out. After calling and insisting someone from IT help me, I suddenly remembered my new password, thereby, wasting their time and felt like an idiot.
  10. My opening activity was missing from my desk. I swear I made copies yesterday. Where did I put them? Twenty-five faces looked at me wondering why we weren’t doing something.
  11. After school today, as the sponsor of Interact Club, I am to buy the wish list presents for the residents at a local nursing home. Our club wraps and delivers them tomorrow. I was notified that I couldn’t use the school credit card because of an administrative complication. I don’t have $300 to personally buy presents for the fifteen “forgotten ones”. Will I have to call off the event disappointing the elderly and the teenagers who had organized the event?

It was only 8:30am. By this point, I threw up my hands and gave up trying to control the day. Murphy’s Law was in full effect. “Whatever can go wrong, will.” 

I took a breath and let it all go. The students filed in with containers and plates full of Lebkuchen and Pfeffernüsse.  Several of them told me they stayed up late last night making them with their dad or mom. They thanked me for the opportunity saying it had been a memorable event for them as a family.

Just like that, I caught the Christmas spirit and my sour day turned into a good one.

And it wasn’t even noon.

Not my Pfeffernüsse.