living in chicago

New Camera & Zoo! (Pictures)

Sunday at the Lincoln Park Zoo Today, Aidan, Adam, and I went to the Lincoln Park Zoo so I could see giraffes AND play with the new camera. Let me tell you, it was an adventure getting there. First, we hopped on one bus, then we got off to transfer to another bus, only the other bus only runs on weekdays. THEN Aidan had to potty, so we had to backtrack a lot to get to McDonald’s so Aidan could use the bathroom. (I had to go too, so it was fine.) Then we waited FOREVER for the Clark Street bus, and it just got more and more crowded. But there were some really good-natured people on the bus, and I had a lot of fun. Aidan yelled at me three times for laughing in his ear. :O

We ended up getting off a few stops before because the bus was just getting out of control with the number of people on it. It was nice out (at the time), so the walk was pleasant. The Zoo is free (except for parking [$12], which is why we decided to take the CTA instead of drive), and it wasn’t too crowded. Both cameras got quite a workout.

These are from my new camera:

Sunday at the Lincoln Park Zoo

Sunday at the Lincoln Park Zoo

Sunday at the Lincoln Park Zoo
Flowers (with the macro setting)

Sunday at the Lincoln Park Zoo

Sunday at the Lincoln Park Zoo
Lion again

Sunday at the Lincoln Park Zoo
Aidan and me with the giraffes, ostriches, and a gazelle.

There are these pictures too, taken with the SLR:

Sunday at the Lincoln Park Zoo

Sunday at the Lincoln Park Zoo

Sunday at the Lincoln Park Zoo

More here.

The Sony camera has this vivid color setting which I love, and a mode which automatically detects if a person smiles. You go into this mode, push the shutter down, and the camera waits for the person to smile before taking the picture. This one was taken with the smile detector last night:


Pretty neat, huh?

I also took this one last night of Aidan and Crookshanks:

Aidan & Crookshanks: Booknerds in Training

I’m enjoying the camera. It’s a cool little machine and will be great to carry around with me when I don’t want to deal with the big SLR. Now, here’s the question. What do I do to get that kind of rich color in the photos I take with the SLR? When I first got it, I was getting AMAZING pictures with beautiful color. I typically don’t retouch any of my pictures, but now I’m having desperate urges to, just to get the saturation up. Now, I can’t seem to get anything that doesn’t look washed out, whether I’m inside or outside. Any tips?

That’s all for now. See ya! :)

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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Nothing, Really

Today, I had a doctor’s appointment. I love this doctor, and I’m not dreading going to see her again next month. And for not having insurance, the cost wasn’t prohibitive at all. Thank God I have a wonderful finace who cares about me and who takes care of me. I’d have never gone to see her without his insistence. Basically, I have been emotionally off for months now, and although I realize that most of it’s because I’m going through a million different adjustments at once, the fact that I am ALWAYS feeling an underlying sadness, irritable, and impatience among other stuff is a problem. So it’s time to see what I can do. I have two months worth of prescription samples, and the other prescription I had to fill cost me only $10.99. :) We’ll see what happens.

After that, Adam, Aidan, and I hit Strack & Van Til for some name brand groceries (oh shoot, I forgot lunch meat!). Strack & Van Til is less expensive than the other stores around here (except ALDI); the prices are comparable to what I paid in Columbus for groceries. They also sell Granola Dipps there, but I don’t know how long that is going to last. I think I got the last box. :O And Vitamin Water is 10 for $10. Some places charge $1.99 for one bottle. Now, if they only had BBQ Fritos….

Then we did a bad thing. We went in to Best Buy. And I got that pink camera I’ve been wanting for months. Adam stood there and convinced me to get it, telling me that I was going to end up buying it before Disney anyway, and that I should get it while it was on sale (it was $20 off today), and that it would be GREAT to have in the Disney parks, especially at night, when I might not want to tote around the SLR. SO, I got it. I’m still not convinced I won’t talk myself into returning it, so I haven’t opened it yet. But I probably will open it and enjoy having a little camera to carry around with me. :)

(Adam is telling me to stop feeling guilty about buying it).

I’m sure the bank is scratching its head, because I don’t spend money like this regularly.

Today I drove again for the first time in several weeks. For some reason, I feel a great deal of anxiety driving here, and I really shouldn’t. I mean, I KNOW how to get to the grocery stores and to Target and Kohl’s and Best Buy. And anything else, I can take the bus or the train or walk because those stores are downtown. I’ve been very tempted to sell the car, pay off the balance with the money, and go to not owning a car anymore. Someone broke into my car AGAIN over the weekend and stole my emergency roadside kit. I am getting frustrated with having to get windows replaced every six weeks because people are assholes. This time they broke the window that goes up and down, but Adam found a place that charges only $65. More than half what the other places charge. Still, it’s an expense that’s ridiculous and annoying. Plus insurance (although mine has gone down woo!), and the car payment, plus the $120 yearly fee one has to pay JUST for owning a car in Chicago, and the same for registration. I don’t drive it enough to justify all that, so we were thinking of doing the iGo or Zipcar thing (car sharing, about $15 a month for three hours of usage, which is perfect for groceries and such, and the fees cover insurance, gas, etc.). I’d be sad to get rid of my car…. seems like I’m constantly giving up something by living here, but it would be good for the environment and good for my wallet. But I kind of want to hold on to it until I find full-time work. If I can’t find a job downtown and have to commute, I’ll need a car for that.

Anyway, that’s all for now. I’m eyeing the camera, still in the bag and in its box, and inching a little closer to opening it. :) I’ll let you know.

‘Til next time!

ETA at 5:40pm I opened the camera and I LOVE IT. :D

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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Settling In

It’s been a while since I have posted. (And Adam too, for that matter!) It’s been weeks of getting settled in, looking for a job, and trying to figure out my way around here. Things are certainly interesting. The cost of living is definitely higher. I see it mostly in food and fuel, but I guess that’s being felt by everyone everywhere. Gas here hovers at around $4 a gallon, so I try not to drive anywhere except the grocery store. Thank God Chicago has a decent public transportation system. Well, the trains are cool, at least. The buses–I’ve never been a fan of buses and here, give me the train any day.

We do most of our grocery shopping at ALDI. If I am DESPERATE for some Hunts tomato sauce or Doritos or Quaker granola bars, I’ll go to Bari or CVS. The grocery stores here are not that cheap, but if you catch a sale on the things you need, it can work out great. The 25 oz. box of Froot Loops I got for $4 at Jewel-Osco? SCORE. The 65 cents for a can of Hunts tomato sauce? Unscore. :(

The job search is hard. On the one hand, I like taking my time waking up in the mornings, and having the day to do whatever. On the other hand, I don’t like not making a lot of money. Bills don’t stop just because you don’t have a job, and the market is soooo competitive and discouraging at times. In a few weeks, I’ll be poised to seriously panic.

So, I think once I am working, I will feel more at home. Plus, in a month, Aidan comes for the summer, which should be fun and interesting.

All in all, I’m getting there.

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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I’m Here.

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