Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fun diversions...

Although not part of my photography course, I've had fun ( and some frustration ) working with slideshows in Lightroom. Navigating through these software programs is not for the impatient type.
I've managed to create various slides, but can't seem to figure out how to get the quality I want with the uploaded slideshow through Blogger.

Here's a small sample of the shots I took on Sunday, some from the previous post, but with a filter added to produce a different effect.  I'll keep working on the slideshows.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Black and White

Today (Sunday) was cold, gray and misty - a perfect day for a few colorless photographs. I found a street downtown, with few people to get in the way, and captured these images. Digital photography is amazing. You have a choice of color or black and white without having to change the film.  And no time spent in a darkroom or sending to a film processor. Sweet!

is this tree really as tall as a 25-story building?

the library window

lion heads and fleur-de-lis

someone mutters and the street lamp gutters...

...and a bit of color

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Yucatán Today - Happy Anniversary

I just received an e-mail announcing the latest edition of Yucatán Today, which is celebrating 24 years of publishing a very fine magazine and on-line site containing everything you need to know about Mérida and Yucatán. If this site is not on your favorites list, be sure to add it. And if you need a detailed map of the area, look no further. They have over twenty maps that will help, immensely, with your travels throughout the area. The on-line site does a wonderful job of keeping its readers up to date on all the happening events in Mérida, like Carnaval  Nueva Era 2012, which we will unfortunately miss this year. The restaurant reviews are excellent as well, with great photos. Look for the monthly magazine at various sites throughout the centro.

all images from Google

Friday, January 13, 2012

Winter colors...

Winter in this part of Virginia can be chilly and as colorless as the drab grey of the ubiquitous naval warships and aircraft carriers that dot the various harbors of Hampton Roads.  There are a few exceptions here and there. The Norfolk Botanical Garden is showcasing its vast camellia collection, although many of the huge shrubs are still just loaded with buds. I spent some time today completing work for my photography course and enjoying a rare balmy day. Tomorrow will be back to cold... albeit sunny and cold.

pink and white mottled

winter white

beautiful walkway over the canal

shall we dance?

There are subtle colors everywhere in the gardens, like the backdrop foliage for this fountain.

Rock fountain in the Japanese Garden

the turtle pond, but no turtles found

Monday, January 9, 2012

Changing colors

bright verde
When we first laid eyes on the house we would end up purchasing, it had just been repainted by the previous owners. We thought the color unusual, though not unpleasant, for a home in the Centro. They said that the original color was not bright enough, thus the change. Our property manager, Ruben, now jokingly says that he puts on his sunglasses before coming over to our house. Honestly, it is a little too bright for our tastes as well. Once, in Los Camellos (our neighborhood tlapaleria), I was explaining to the owners that we were neighbors and when asked which house, I made a gesture trying to indicate "bright" as I said "verde." They shook their heads indicating that they knew which house we were describing. 

the new color & accents
We have been tossing around the idea of changing colors for a while, but on our last visit found a color we both liked very much. We spotted a house on calle 68, just around the corner from Parque Santiago, that was the perfect color. The only problem is that it is not easy to determine the brand of paint, much less the color. Ruben accompanied me to the Comex paint store around the corner, but there were no color chips to compare. The owner of the paint store grabbed his only binder of color chips and we scoured the binder searching for a similar color.  He then motioned to follow him and we walked over to the house to try to match the color. What we found was very close if not exact - softer, a little faded and more traditional. Kind of like us.

Now to find a good painter, as the one Ruben uses is evidently quite busy. He can't seem to get him to come over to give an estimate. If anyone out there has a recommendation, please let us know. We would like to have the painting done while still in the dry season.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy 470th Mérida

Collage of Leonora Carrington bronze sculptures displayed along the Paseo de Montejo.
Photos taken at our visit last year during the 469th Anniversary celebration.
all images by John Bradshaw (PhotoShopped)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The blessings and hassles of 2011

Looking back over the past year, we have been blessed in many ways. Foremost, if not as fit as we would like to be, we both are reasonably healthy as are our three animals and our extended families. We are fortunate to be in a position to have purchased a home in Mérida and begin our plans to retire as expats in Mexico. I'm not sure I like the word "expatriate." It seems to imply a renunciation of allegiance to one's country of origin, but actually refers to anyone living temporarily or permanently in another country. There is much to not like about what is going on in the United States right now, but we are not renouncing anything. We're just thrilled to have the opportunity to experience another culture in our retirement years, especially a place as culturally rich as Yucatán. Another Mérida-based blogger, My Mérida Life, posted a rather poignant piece about how their priorities have changed over the course of a single year living in Mexico.  In many ways, we have begun this process before actually getting there on a permanent basis. Resentment, anger and frustration seem to melt away more quickly.

Leonora Carrington sculpture on the Paseo de Montejo
photo January 2011 by John Bradshaw

Patience is possible. Being without a working refrigerator for a week is annoying, but we've managed fairly well with one ice chest. We've had no nighttime ice cream for a week and I think we might have shed a pound or two.  We've also been without TV service for over two weeks and despite missing the season finale of our two favorite shows, it has not been all that bad, and our dogs have loved the extra attention. Could this be the universe preparing us for our new life in a foreign country?

A special thanks to all of the "seasoned" Mérida bloggers for sharing a wealth of knowledge and experience and for offering advice, when asked, about how to best succeed in adapting to life in Mexico.  For those of you pondering a potential move to Mérida, or any place in Mexico, a good resource is Joanna Rosado's book, Magic Made in Mexico and all of the blog sites listed on my blog list.