camera obscura (or breaking up is hard to do)

I shipped off the last piece of my Nikon camera set on Friday.

I have written here about how my interest in photography has lessened as my interest in writing this blog has increased. I wrote about how I recognized that I was so intent on getting the great shot that I failed to savor the moment at the ocean, or the waterfall, or wherever I was.

I decided that simplifying, and not carrying around a camera bag with multiple lenses was the right thing to do. I wrote about how I bought a Canon pocket camera for our Alaska trip, and while that got me some great pictures, it wasn’t quite what I wanted. I ended up with a compact digital, a Nikon P500, which provides me with a familiar feel and familiar functions, but in a much simplified manner, without the bag and multiple lenses. Even at that, we’ve gone on trips where I haven’t taken it out of its case.

I realized that I needed to get rid of my D70 and its multiple lenses. But realizing and doing are two different things. I  hung on it for a long time, not being able to let go, even though I knew I wouldn’t go back to using it. I even had all of lenses packed up in their original boxes and put into shipping boxes, ready to list them on eBay. But I just couldn’t bring myself to do that.

Finally I took a Sunday afternoon and listed everything. It all sold. And really, it was the right thing to do. I have my P500 for the shots I want to take, and I ended up with a nice balance in my PayPal account that I can use for fun indulgences like Amazon and iTunes gift cards. But mostly I know I can stand by the ocean and enjoy the moment and not feel like I’m missing some picture I really need to capture.

That’s a good thing.


secular music (aloha) Friday

It’s been way too long since Terry and I have been to Hawaii. But we still remember Hawaii on those Fridays when I put together a CD jazz set by starting it with these two distinctly non-jazz songs.



Ella Robinson on her father, Bishop Gene Robinson

This is marvelous. Ella speaks about her relationship with her father and his partner.


boogie bands and one night stands

My senior year at Pitzer College, 1974-75, I rented a room off campus in a house on North College Avenue. I had my own entrance in the back of the house. I had a marvelous, huge, antique worktable-desk, a large armchair of similar vintage, a hot plate and broiler oven. I provided my own mini-fridge. I had a portable (probably 19-inch) black and white television on which I watched the PBS station, channel 28, and Dick Cavett on ABC channel 7. Over the air with rabbit ears, mind you. I was finishing my classes for my major in classics, getting ready for my comprehensive exams, and working in the dining hall for Saga Food Service.

On the radio, on Stereo 93 KNX-FM, I was listening to Kathy Dalton.


what retirement means

I wrote a while back about how my dad was able to retire at age 55, and how I’m a few years on the other side of that and am nowhere near that point. I thought of that when I read a recent article by Bill Moyers.

Moyers has retired two or three times now, only to come back and do more television. Moyers writes about how Walter Cronkite told him that he regretted retiring at age 65. Of course in Cronkite’s case it wasn’t entirely his doing. CBS in those days wanted to get Dan Rather into the anchor chair before they lost him to another network. Nonetheless, I suppose that Cronkite could have negotiated a busier schedule with CBS than he did.

The difference, of course, is that Cronkite loved and Moyers loves television journalism. I am where I am due to a variety of circumstances, happenstance, and good fortune. And as fortunate as I am to be where I am, it is not a chosen vocation.

So if I were to retire, what would I do? Here’s a partial list:

  • Write more
  • Read More
  • Exercise more
  • Do crosswords and other mind-challenging games
  • Listen to or watch more Great Courses lectures
  • Cook more and more creatively
  • Shop more at independent grocers where I know the owners and staff
  • Maintain my recipe database
  • Watch Rachael Ray’s syndicated daytime television show
  • Spend time volunteering at the church
  • Volunteer at a social service agency
  • Travel with Terry more
  • Spend more time at the ocean
  • Re-engage with photography
  • Get up early more often
  • Sleep in more often

That should keep me busy.


an agreeable possibility

I wrote here right after Easter that what came to mind for me this year were the words from W.H. Auden’s For the Time Being, his Christmas oratorio. I said that while the words are meant to apply to Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, somehow this year they spoke to my experience of Lent, Holy Week, and Easter.

Once again
As in previous years we have seen the actual Vision and failed
To do more than entertain it as an agreeable
Possibility, once again we have sent Him away,
Begging though to remain His disobedient servant,
The promising child who cannot keep His word for long.

I didn’t want to dwell on those words during Easter week, but they do in fact speak to me at a deep level. When I read them to my spiritual director I started to choke up, which suggests just how much the words do speak to me.

When Auden published those words in 1944, I believe he directly and candidly captured the behavior of so many of us in Western mainline Christianity. Perhaps we are just so caught up in our secular, daily lives we just don’t take time for the sacred. I can tell you about how I fail to take time with my prayer beads, even as much as that practice benefits me.

And notice the double meaning in the last line. “His” is capitalized. The promising child cannot keep his own word for long. Nor can he keep God’s word for long.

My spiritual director asked me to look during this season of Easter at what promises I am going to keep.

I’m working on that.


Sacred Music Friday: Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring

Bach: Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring. The Edinburgh Singers at Linlithgow for BBC Songs of Praise, November 30th 2008.