Sunset with Spouse - Lake Michigan

I guess that “surfacing thing for a moment” in my last blog entry took.

In the spirit of some communication, I’ve been ruminating on a list of 20 or so things worth blogging about. I’ve worked it over in my head many times but I always stop at about three. We’ll see how far we get. Twenty may be more of a metaphor when we’re all said and done.

  1. Well, since I last set keyboard onto this blog, I passed the big 47. That’s right, I’m one third of the way to 141 years of age. Man – that’s going to be a long trip. But 47 is okay so far. The jury is still out on 2009 as a whole (hint: it will come back guilty), but the turning 47 thing has been okay. At least I’m still closer to 45 then 50, even if I feel like I’m still 19 (horsin’ around age) to 34 (all the other ages that are relevant).
  2. And to celebrate said birthday, the Spouse and I wandered up to Chicago for the day. We’d both read The Devil in the White City, which was all about the 1893 Columbian Exposition (nee World’s Fair) in Chicago – and a mass murderer who worked the crowds. The fair – which was huge – took place in present-day Jackson Park on the South Side of Chicago. We went and walked bits and pieces of it to try and get a feel. Nothing is left from the fair – save one building – the Museum of Science and Industry – and it’s changed a lot. Still, the grounds are largely the same and you could get a small feeling for the scope of this giant mass of humanity and buildings. We then took our third trip on the Chicago River, this time doing the historical tour of Chicago. The tour – often crowded – was fairly empty – just four us on this large boat. It was a  pretty good time actually. We went out onto the lake too. We finished up with an evening at the spectacular Art Institute – which is running free admission on Thursday and Friday evenings for the rest of the summer. A very nice day.


    An evening at the Art Institute in Chicago

  3. As soon as I got back from Chicago, I turned around the next morning and drove up to Madison. In spite of the horrendous traffic on I-39 where it met both I-88 and I-90, I arrived – and spent about 24 hours visiting my dad – who was in town to visit his buddy John. We had a nice dinner down on State Street and took a good evening walk (and then a good morning walk the next day). We also took in the tremendously large farmer’s market that surrounds the state capitol building. An impressive array of veggies, fruit, and flowers. I drove home Saturday afternoon – avoiding I-39 completely – and took in a lot of the back roads of Illinois. I stopped at Castle Rock State Park – which has potential for a visit when the wildflowers are blooming or when the leaves are turning.

    More Pops Bokeh

    Pops - on State Street in Madison - Friday night

  4. Alright – so far so good. After I got back from Madison on Saturday, Kev and I headed up to South Haven, MI, on Monday. The main reason for the trip was to visit my childhood buddy, Bill B., but we were also going to take in the eastern shores of Lake Michigan and check out the big sand dunes up there. For something like 40 years, Bill and his family (one brother) have been staying at a place in South Haven for a few weeks each summer, so we dropped in on the entire family. I had never met Bill’s wife (Ingrid) or his kids – or his brother Jim’s wife (Rachel) and their kids. And actually it was great to see ALL of them – we had a great time. I had many parents growing up – and Bill’s folks contributed. Bill and I realized we hadn’t seen each other since 1991, but we picked up and ran with it. We’ve stayed in somewhat regular touch over the years so that helps. We camped a few minutes down the road at Van Buren State Park – and it was pretty good. We got six nights in the tent this summer and they were all pretty good. We also took in the best ice cream in all of Michigan at Sherman’s in South Haven. I suspect on our way back from Mackinac Island in October we’ll make a quick stop. The picture above – Kev walking on the beach at sunset – both nights were pretty darn good.
  5. Speaking of my darling bride – Kev got an “A” in her online class this summer – at least justifying the fact that it nearly killed her at times. Traveling in the middle of all that – not great. If only ISU hadn’t moved the class up two weeks after she registered. She started school today – at least the kids are back – she went back last week actually. Due to some scheduling changes, she’s doing a show in November (and again in January most likely as part of the Illinois Theatre Fest), February, March, and April. This will finish her off since the class couldn’t do it. It may also put a crimp in her ability to take a class until next summer.
  6. Anyone want to buy the house next door to us? It’s for sale. Built just five years ago. No online listing yet but it’s selling for a rather expensive $230K. Not sure I think that will go in this economy. The nice thing is – while next door – it’s still many hundred feet away and there’s a wonderfully tough gully between it and us. It’s a good 1/4 mile walk as the crow DOESN’T FLY. So not TOOO close to us.
  7. It’s almost fantasy football season. I’ve dropped out of my league in Indianapolis – didn’t feel like I should spend the $ on two leagues this year. But – as always – am looking forward to the Peoria festivities. Draft day is just a week from this Saturday. w00t! as they say.
  8. If we had some good cliffs – I’d be prepared to drive many of our cars off of them. Kev swerved to avoid an animal on Townline Rd., the other night and drove hard onto the shoulder, kicking up something that punched a hole in the bottom of her radiator. $528 later… Really? I need that this year? The truck has been it’s usual POS self. Another fuel leak – brought on most likely by mice or squirrels chewing on part of the fuel line. I was leaving quite a lot of fuel on the roads of Central Illinois for a few days. We’ve probably spent about $2,000 on the truck in the last 18 months. The fuel line repair was one day before an art fair – thought for sure I’d be renting again…
  9. Speaking of art fairs, I had both Sugar Creek (in Normal) and the Washington Fine Art Fair (just last weekend) in Washington, IL. Both were okay – good crowds but not a lot of buyers. And boy did it rain on both – which proved what a crappy (it was free) tent I have. Tough year in the art market.
  10. I’m teaching three classes at the Art Guild this fall. I’ll be doing my regular “Lighting with Flashes” class, as well as an “Expedition” class that is all about landscape photography. We’ll make at least three trips to do the work in the field for this class too. Finally, I’m co-teaching a low-light/no-light class that is all about shooting before sunrise, at sunset, and at night. Should be a lot of fun. And I get paid.
  11. Halfway home! We had the big Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk in July in Peoria. I was the host – and we got 46 people to come out and play. To see the top ten images from the walk (as officially selected by me), head over to the Central Illinois Photoblog. The Peoria Flickr group is sponsoring monthly photowalks now – so we’ll be doing a photowalk and photo scavenger hunt in Peoria’s Springdale Cemetery this Saturday from 9am to 11am. Details if you locals are interested.
    Kelby Photowalk Peoria
  12. Today marks the day when I officially finished off the photo studio and got all the non-photographic junk outta the room. It’s available now for shooting both product/tabletop and people. And it’s organized. Hooray. Still, I’m gonna need to work everyday for a solid month to spread the organization to the rest of the house – but I’m on a mission.
  13. I’ve been drafted by my buddy Lily to participate in a little photo project she’s working on. She’s taken the Paul Simon song, “My and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” and started photographing it – telling the story of the song in pictures. I have been drafted to play the part of “Papa” (when Papa found out/he began to shout/ and started the investigation). I’m also helping wrangle a few of the other shots. Take a look at her set (just started) – more to come soon.
  14. Did you know that in hexadecimal, that 20 is represented at 14? No. Well then.
  15. One last photo thing. I had the fun assignment (along with two others) of judging the over 400 photographic entries in this year’s Heart of Illinois Fair. I think we did pretty good – there were some strong pictures submitted. This was also an excuse to go to the HOI Fair for the first time, as my judging got me two free tickets. It’s about what you’d expect – which is quaint and weird at the same time. But at night – you can always get good shots.

    Waiting (Summer Cliche 4)

    The long slow rides at the HOI Fair

  16. Kevin had the alumni and a lot of currents out to the house for our sixth annual Tech Camp. This is just a chance to wind down summer for a lot of the theatre kids – and for us to see the alumni before they head back to college or whatever else they’re doing. It’s also an excuse to really clean the house. A good time as usual was had by all and in what is becoming a tradition, we watched a heck of an interesting movie this year after the swimming was over – “The Boondock Saints”. Very unique movie.
  17. In prepping for tech camp I had some good news and some bad news. The bad news was I found yet another batch of poison ivy. I HATE THAT STUFF. My right hand still looks like a survivor from the plague. I think I need to burn down everything we got that’s green and has three leaves. Since I can’t be sure – I say kill it all.
  18. On the plus side, we did get the remainder of the work done on the back porch. New light fixtures – which look SO much better (and from this century), all new blades on the ceiling fans – which look SO much better, and new carpeting – which looks SO much better. Of course it was a miserably hot day during tech camp so no one spent time on the porch. You’re shocked? No.
  19. In an interesting turn of events, I’m going to take part of this blog private. There are some topics for discussion that I don’t want to have in a public space so… more details on that in a subsequent post. You’ll all have to learn the password but it probably won’t ever change and it won’t take much work to get in, and I promise juicy details (or something). Thanks to my bud in Kentucky for this idea.
  20. Believe it or not  – I had a 20th topic – but in moving things around I lost track of it and have no idea what it was. But c’mon – this was a pretty decent list. I’m not kidding. I ROCK!

Hopefully I’ll be back in less then (nearly) two months. Until then, I’ll leave you with one last picture:

Lake Josephine Taxi