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, 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

IMO: SEVEN

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.

20170507_185115

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.

CindyLucky13Banner (1)

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.

foam

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,

Cindy