Post “retirement” life…

Retirement means different things to different people. For some it is the sheer joy of not working…kicking back and relaxing. For others it is travel, while for some it is hellish boredom.

For me it is doing exactly what I want to do. And that, of course, is shooting and editing. In moderation with a fanciful mix of other activities.

In news I was out and about every single day, going where ever the desk chose to point me. Of course occasionally I turned the tables and told the desk where the news was and where I was heading. Some days were good, some bad, some beyond explanation (like the day I got sent to three different cities in three different counties running like a mad dog only to have each story vaporize before I got there). Nine parts fun to one part uh-uh.

News at least had some sense of freedom.

Teaching? While I enjoyed opening up young minds to the world beyond their ‘hood, it was harder work than I’d ever done before. Daily lesson planning, parent conferences, and the damned education standards and standardized testing. Three parts fun to seven parts uh-uh.

Retirement? Well, doing it MY way it is pretty close to TEN parts fun and very little uh-uh.

The trick is to do what YOU want when YOU want to. So while I love shooting and love teaching (the part with the kids, not the drag me into the dungeon and kill me with meetings and paperwork part) I also like to volunteer, work in the back forty, diddle with woodworking, kick back with a glass of wine and read a book or online article, travel, and much more. So I do it all and on my terms now.

These past few weeks have seen me playing a ghoul in a haunted house, out on a shoot for Angies List, visiting daughters on the fly, putting in the winter garden, volunteering to do publicity for the local American Legion for an event (and shooting and posting video of said event to local news sites), returning to the classroom for a short teaching gig, speaking to some college broadcasting classes with friend and co-author Larry Nance, and running two cameras for a producer at a forum at the University of the Pacific. And kicking back with wine and a good book and even just sitting and watching leaves fall.

In a few months the hubby of forty plus years retires and I can add travelling the country with my true love in a trailer to the list (with an occasional jaunt across various big ponds to foreign realms). And, according to him, handing him tools as he works under his 1941 Chevy Coupe. Yeah. Retirement done right.


This ‘n that…

Summer is not approaching as rapidly as I’d like. What I thought would be a short term gig in the classroom teaching photography is now a full term of five months, so planning and prepping for my post-retirement production site is going slowly.

On the up side – I did order and have worked with my new camera: Panasonic AG-HMC150.

Went out on a trial run last night with dishcrawl. Think pubcrawl, but with food instead of beer. Nearly five hours of in-and-outs to four restaurants. Began by tagging along with official videographer Diane as she and dishcrawl founder Tracy Lee interviewed the owners/chefs at some of the restaurants. They allowed me to shoot some b-roll for them as well as work as backup camera on several interviews (This was a camera-only trial run, so I was mikeless. They plan to synch my video up with Diane’s miked video in post).

A challenging night. We began with setting sun light and shadows and progressed to full night, shooting by streetlight, in dining rooms, kitchens, and at one point even tried shooting as the crowd crawled past a dark corner. I got to test the little Panny out in a wide range of light temperatures and started becoming familiar with the placement of the buttons and dials.

Becoming familiar? A REAL videojournalist/shooter doesn’t even have to think about where her buttons and dials are on the camera. The camera should be as much a part of the VJ as their nose or fingers…an extension of their body. That used to be the case when I was in the daily mix of news…but it is now eight years later and I have to get back into the zen zone of shooting.

Back to the future. Over the next few months thinknews will have fresh new video examples, posted to vimeo and shot on my new camera. The intent is to show potential clients what I can do with current gear…what my current skill set is.

My byline has always been, “Can’t live without a camera in my hand.” So in retirement I do not plan to retire from who I am…but continue it at a pace that makes sense.

Story Idea 12.5.10

Ahhh, retirement. I left the ranks of the living rat race at the end of May this year. No more early wake-ups, stress, always being a beat behind. Now I have all of the time in the world.



…there are times I’m bored, overwhelmed with too much to do, procrastinating…and missing my old routine. Trying to fill the hole that was taken up by a job is challenging. Doing it in such a way that is meaningful and enjoyable, more so.

Story idea: what makes for a successful retiree?

Some folks invest so much of themselves into their jobs that when said job is history, they have nothing left to do but twiddle their thumbs. What should they do?

Some folks have outside interests that carry over into retirement and have lots to do.

What happens if one spouse retires and the other plans to (as in my husband’s case) keep chugging along for a few more years?

Retirement is, after all a goal we all aspire to. The end of our work life and beginning of a new life focusing (hopefully) on all of the things we put off. Successful retirement depends on successful planning…enough income, debt-free, worry-free. It also is dependent on good post-retirement planning. Which means, what the heck are you gonna do with all of that time.

I’ve seen cases where retirees just waste away because they no longer know who they are. I’ve also see them taken advantage of by friends and family, becoming free caregivers and babysitters to the extent they have no free time for themselves.

So how do you define a successful retiree…what makes them successful? How busy they are…or how happy they are? Figure it out…talk to some folks…and let me know. I’m still looking.

First post-retirement gig…

Well that came about sooner than expected. Tomorrow I embark on my post retirement career of occasional shooting/editing/producing gigs.

Thank you craigslist for the pointer. Just a simple series of interviews to be posted on the web…and something I can take back to my students (as a volunteer) about working with and educating a client so they get what they want. This will be fun!


This retirement gig is both awesome and awful. I find myself puttering around the house, cleaning…hopping online…getting dirty in the garden.

Unfortunately the video camera spends too much time in the bag. So to avoid that, I plan to challenge myself to shoot at least three videos a week and post them.

Got a couple for today already…my husband’s kitten loves to play with paper bags AND this is National Mosquito Control week. I got my mosquito fish about half an hour ago…and as soon as I dump them into the sheep watering trough I’ll post the video from the pickup point of both mosquito lava and mosquito fish.

The thing to remember is that video is not always about storytelling but also about simply showing what you’ve seen, hopefully in a way that will be memorable. So the kitten shot is on the floor and the mosquito video is extremely close-up.

BTW my youtube moniker is thinknews…and once I get this going on a regular basis I’m moving the project over there.

Who knows what tomorrow brings…

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