Category Archives: Photography

Day 211: New Year’s Resolutions

I resolve to shower and dress before I go downstairs. 2012 found me in my pajamas at 4:00 in the afternoon too many days.

I resolve to wait to weigh myself until I’ve had my moment with the porcelain bowl. It makes a difference in my weight loss charting but might have been TMI to share here. I promised you honesty, though.

I resolve to use Goodreads with intention and actually write reviews. Usually I’m too eager to start the next book to take time to review the one I just finished. You can find me using the name GotMyReservations if you’re interested in what I’m reading and writing.

Seriously, folks, there are some resolutions out there on my horizon, but they’re not much different from when I started writing about retirement in June. I’m serious about weight loss and getting healthier and have two goal timelines — the trip to France in April and the wedding of my son in September. I’m still sorting and purging our stuff, even though at this point it seems as though it will take more than a year to even make a dent. On the other side of the ledger are my growth as a photographer and a writer. I’m really pleased with the changes I’ve made to Got My Reservations and the direction I’m taking with it — I hope that you are following Reservations along with Retirement 365.

I’ll leave you with a January 1 photo taken at Dawes Park in Evanston. I love the contrast between the light and dark in this photo. Happy New Year!

IMG_6432 Copyright

Day 166: Conferences — NOT!

If I were not retired, I would be participating in the marathon of conferences right now.

But I am retired and I’m responsible for no one but myself, so I guess it’s time for my retirement conference.

The first thing I said I was going to do was to build the Retirement 365 blog format. Check! I like the retro housewife theme and have gotten good reactions to it. A friend even gave me matching pot holders!

I said I was going to cook more thoughtfully. Check! With the exception of the two-ish weeks I spent being a full-time travel agent, I’ve been doing a lot more cooking at home and cooking a lot more carefully. I’ve worked with portion size and how to cook for just the two of us in our empty nest — I only want one meal of leftovers from anything I cook.

I said I was going to get rid of stuff. I can only give myself a C on this one, because although I’ve gotten rid of masses of stuff already, I still have masses to go. Yet, in school we rewarded progress toward a goal and individual achievement, so maybe I get more than a C on this one.

I said I was going to learn how to use my new DSLR camera. Check! I’ve made great progress toward understanding and using the manual settings of my camera. I’ve got a ways to go, but I even have one of my photos published on a friend’s web page and I photographed her recent glass show. I joined the local camera club and even submitted four of my photos for critique by the club.I’m proud of what I’ve done so far, and look forward to learning a lot more.

I said I was going to get healthy, and I’ve been going faithfully to strength training twice a week and have had good success with the chiropractic care of my neck and lower back problems. Check! Next stop, more weight loss.

Although not in my goals, I have spent the last month revamping my main blog, Got My Reservations. If you have not signed up to follow me there, please do. I control everything on the blog — it’s self-hosted — so I don’t have the support of WordPress to send me new followers. Please visit me; it’s kind of sad that no one even knows it’s there and I can tell that through my addiction to watching my statistics. 🙂

There are a lot more goals buried in the fifty-nine posts over the last 166 days, but these are the beginnings of my new normal. Since my mom and dad aren’t around for me to show them my portfolio, I’m showing you.

I appreciate your love and support as I figure out who the new me is.

Day 137: In search of a pain au chocolat

I wasn’t asking for much — or so I thought.

A yearning for a simple chocolate croissant has emerged on my consciousness like an enormous elephant standing in front of my garage door. It won’t get out of the way.

I just finished reading a surprisingly good book called French Lessons in which French food plays an important part. Obviously when one is learning to speak French, ordering from a menu and choosing items in markets becomes very important. As the reviewers of this book say, the best part of it is Sussman’s vivid descriptions of Paris and I just wanted a pastry. That shouldn’t be so hard to find, should it?

This started last week; I went to my favorite bakery and was absolutely positive they would be able to satisfy my craving. Mais non! They only make pain au chocolat on the weekends.

Today I decided that I was going to find me some chocolate croissant action — I mean, give me a break. How hard can this be?

First I went to Corner Bakery, where I’m absolutely sure I’ve seen chocolate pastries many times. NOPE. Then I figured I would find something at Starbucks. NOPE again.

I was out of time so I caved in and got my second favorite guilty pleasure, a Rice Krispie treat and a lovely dark cup of coffee. Yummy, but not what I was craving.

While I was at it, I decided to try some more food photography practice, so I arranged said treat and the coffee on my lovely fall plates. My photography is getting better — I did this without flash in a fully manual mode. The big white coffee cup didn’t turn out the way I had hoped, though. I’m still learning, but I’m better than I was last week and the week before that.

Retirement is being very good to me, but I am still looking for that chocolate. Any ideas??

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Day 114: What Am I Thinking?

I just posted a link on Got My Reservations that commits me to posting every day in October. Apparently, I should be committed.

Yet I’m hopeful about this project. I have a lot of material in my photo archives to use and I’m working at making my posts shorter, although you’d never know it from the Sunday Review posts or the self-examination posts I’ve been doing here at Retirement 365.

Short and sweet. That’s my motto for October. I’ll hope you’ll join me this month on the “other side.”

Day 60: Playing with My Photos

A little Lomo here, a little Vignetting there…

Life in the Barn

Day 58: Summer Staycation Continues

Many friends have told me that I will be busier in retirement than I ever was while teaching.

I’m not sure that’s possible, but I already know after two months that I’m going to be busy doing things that I WANT to do, and not as many as I don’t want to do. That’s progress.

In the last ten days, I have been very busy being “retired.” You can judge for yourself.

I sat with a friend who was in the hospital and took photos of her flowers, playing with some of the new camera apps I’ve downloaded to my iPhone.

I went to the bakery and bought a beautiful loaf of multi-grain bread, which we devoured; it was going to spoil quickly anyway, right? While there, I couldn’t help taking photos of these delicious desserts.

I know this is out of focus, but the little dessert dishes were so cute, I had to include them.

We went to Ravinia Festival twice over three days, and as usual, I got some interesting photos.

I was intrigued by the guy on the right who managed to put all of his picnic stuff into one very large duffel bag on wheels. No Griswold-style Ravinia entry for them!

I cut up masses of watermelon for the birthday girl.

Ravinia and the Adler Planetarium partnered up to have a jumbo-tron viewing of a movie made to go along with Gustav Holst’s The Planets. As one of my friends said, “Genius!”

There’s nothing quite like an outdoor concert where one pays ten dollars to hear the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and gets the screaming cicadas for free.

If this is what being too busy in retirement means, I don’t want to be less busy. So far, I’m having a fabulous time.

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Day 38: Making Fun of Myself

Day Thirteen: The Aftermath of the Gardening Apocalypse

As several of you commented, yesterday’s plan was quite ambitious, even if I wasn’t doing the majority of the work. I’m going to contact the landscaping company and tell them what good work Hugo and his crew did in the high 90s heat.

My garden had a serious intervention — it’s almost scary to think how much brush and weeds were carted away — but I know those poor bare stems will start branching out quickly. For the moment, however, it looks like the bad haircuts my brothers and I used to get from mom. 🙂

I got out this morning and had my fasting blood tests done, but then succumbed to temptation and did the McDonald’s drive through. Bad me. I’ll have to eat lots of lettuce for lunch today!

Now that I’m alone in the house and don’t have to follow tradesmen around, I can really get things done. These items still remain on my list for today.

  1. Antique sewing machine cabinet
  2. Take inventory of what’s in the freezers and do some meal planning.
  3. Unpack and evaluate what I actually wore on this trip. What can I leave home the next time?
  4. Restock/repurchase toiletries for travel case/re-evaluate usefulness. Same question as above.
  5. Check the loose connection on my small travel case and put away luggage.
  6. Correspondence
  7. Garment bags

As always seems to happens, yesterday’s plumbing work caused another item to be added to the eternal list. There’s a stack of garment bags laying on my living room floor, and they are full of formal dresses and coats. I guess I need to go through them before I put back the garment bags; I’m sure there are some items that can be donated to Goodwill that neither Engineering Barbie or I will never wear again. I just hate to get rid of formal dresses — who knows when we might be invited to an ’80s party?

Yesterday I read an article recommended by a friend from the Chicago Tribune about food photography. One of the professional photographers recommended the Hipstamatic app for the iPhone, and I took this photo with it. Somehow, I think I don’t have the basics of the different lens styles down pat yet, thus the green tint. Watch for more tries with this new app!

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Day Seven: Back to Berkeley

Yesterday we took a tour of the University of California at Berkeley with my sister-in-law, who did her graduate work there. It was fun seeing it through her eyes; it’s a very beautiful campus with a vibrant college town.

The Campanile did not serenade us at 3:00 as promised, but it’s still stately as a symbol of the university.

This beautiful archway leading to a shady path says something in Latin and apparently was given by the Hearst family.

The stadium renovation reminds me of Soldier Field — keeping historic elements while bringing it into the 21st Century.

While unable to catch in a photo, I was quite enamored of the young man jogging around the jock gym with saran wrap covering his midsection, apparently to further sculpt his already six-packed torso. 🙂

Who wouldn’t want a four-seat Cal golf cart?

I tried to do an artsy focus thingey with Instagram of University House to get rid of red cars and construction vehicles — I was only partially successful.

I love to visit colleges, and our trip through memory lane was one to remember!

P.S. If you love to read about restaurants, perhaps you will want to visit my other blog and hear about our trip to Plum in Oakland, California.

Day Six

When I first moved to California as a callow youth in 1974, I didn’t really appreciate the beauty of the San Joaquin Valley. I loved the weather (once it stopped raining in February) and I loved the thrill of being able to drive to whatever season I wanted to experience. Now, after having seen more of the world, I understand what I was missing.

Taken from the airplane as we neared the San Francisco airport, this photo shows the tidy fields of American’s vegetable garden. It feels good to be back!