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Chicago Day 11: So sorry…

I guess that I bit off more than I can possibly chew when I committed to 31 days of posts. I’m just not able to keep up with this…

Thanks for your support of my blog; it’s just not going to be every day in October.

Chicago Day 7: We Love Sports Rivalries

I’m linked up today and for the rest of the month in the 31 Days Challenge at The Nester. By clicking the tab at the top of the page, you can easily access all of the 31 Days in Chicago posts. If you’ve got a story to tell about your experiences in Chicago, I welcome guest posts. Join the fun by emailing me, or if you’re not ready to write, go to The Nester’s web site to follow some other stories this month.

If it’s Sunday, there must be football.

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Enjoy your day!

I’m migrating most of my personal posts over to my other blog — watch for more travel and restaurant posts here.

Retirement 365

The Men I Didn’t Marry (2007) by Janice Kaplan and Lynn Schnurnberger

After being summarily dumped by her husband of 21 years, Hallie first falls into a depression. Then she decides to get back in touch with four former boyfriends to see what she missed when she chose the one who turned out to be a womanizer and a cheat. Although filled with typical chick-lit cliches, the novel moves quickly through Hallie’s soul-searching. It’s your basic beach read, but fun for a quick look at a story about a woman who successfully navigates through a separation and emerges whole. 3/5 Stars

The Lion in Winter (1968) starring Katherine Hepburn and Peter O’Toole

When Terri suggested that I add The Lion in Winter to my English costume drama queue, I put it in the back of my mind, but didn’t rush out to get it from the library, as I had…

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Retirement 365

If you’re anything like me, you’re wondering what to do with all of that basil in your garden.

Make pesto!

First you need to gather together your ingredients — you probably already have them in your house.

Put in all in the food processor and chop till smoothish.

Note: If you are freezing some of it, don’t put the cheese in. Small deli tubs or small plastic bags hold the perfect amount — I fill the ziploc bag, flatten it, label it, and put it on a tray to freeze flat for easy storage. Add the cheese when you defrost the pesto.

Boil up some whole wheat pasta, put the fresh pesto on top and garnish with fresh tomato, more cheese, and basil leaves. It’s an easy, healthy, and yummy meal.

There are many recipes for basil pesto on the internet. Here’s Food Network’s version, which I use often.

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With my apologies to those who are receiving this in multiple formats — I appreciate your support of my writing!

Retirement 365

They say it takes three weeks to break a habit and apparently I’m living proof of that.

I’ve lost the I’m-crabby-about-work mentality that has driven my every waking moment for years. I’m not angry anymore — and unless provoked by someone who wants to disrespect the teaching profession,  I’m ready to move on to something that interests me more. I’m cured, and apparently it shows in my face. Several people this week have commented on the fact that my whole demeanor is less stressed and more calm. I’ve broken my crabby habit.

On the surface life now seems pretty boring.

As I’m sitting down to write and eat my leftover squash casserole from last night, I’m realizing that my days are starting to have a pattern. I get up at a reasonable 7:00 ish, check my social media sources, make a healthy breakfast, and then embark on the project of…

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Love this photo.

Retirement 365

I’m Jennie and today is my sixtieth birthday.

There. I’ve said it out loud. It’s my diamond jubilee.

To honor my love of all things English, my son had this portrait created for me.

I’m so glad he picked a flattering photo of me to insert into one of my favorite Elizabeth I paintings. It is particularly fitting because Elizabeth was in her sixties when this was painted but the artist painted her as a much younger woman.

Elizabeth I: The Rainbow Portrait, c1600, by Isaac Oliver. This portrait can be viewed at Hatfield House. Oliver was a pupil of Elizabeth’s favorite court painter, Nicholas Hilliard, and the brother-in-law of Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger. Some historians have argued that Gheeraerts painted this portrait, but most favor Oliver.

It has the most elaborate and inventive iconography of any Tudor portrait. Elizabeth’s gown is embroidered with English wildflowers, thus allowing the…

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A little cross-pollination going on here between my blogs today. Thanks for reading and following me in my journey!

Retirement 365

Did you ever read the poetry book, Reflections on the Gift of a Watermelon Pickle?

It’s a collection of modern verse designed for middle school kids and is often used in classrooms. Its title is derived from an ode to summer, which you can see in its entirety here. Watermelon is used as a symbol of the summer that so quickly passes by us every year.

Its first two lines are speaking to me at the end of my first month of retirement.

During that summer
When unicorns were still possible

It has been a month of unicorn moments — seeing people and places that are new to me, being able to accomplish changes in areas that have been eating at my soul, creating the new normal. The watermelon is still firm and juicy; it’s amazingly sweet and can be devoured in one sitting. After all, I’ve still…

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These are amazing photos and fearless people. I could not have done this.