I’ve seen some of the most beautiful sights in the world on my travels, and have captured many in photographs. There were times when I was looking at the riot of color at the Floating Market in Bangkok, the cherry blossoms in Japan, or the prospect from the Great Wall of China, and I wished I could capture that in paint. Not “would”, but “could”. Trying to see if I had the ability to do that one day was what ultimately led me to take a drawing class. What kept me from signing up earlier was the certainty I would have to draw a human at some point. Murphy’s Law.

It’s not what you think, although it is a damn good lede. I’m talking about taking a bath. A glorious, hot bath that uses more than 40 gallons of precious water from our monthly allocation. Sinful, guilt-inducing decadence that is now unfortunately a fragrant whisper of memory.

I always thought when I retired, I’d have unlimited well-regulated days, with plenty of time to Create in the Kitchen. I know millions of retired boomers are laughing at me right now. What’s more common these days is spending the entire day running your ageing parent (or in my case, in-law) to various specialists, tests. or pharmacies, and taking care of shopping or other household needs, all the while hoping you’ll hit the road to home before rush hour, and the resulting Death Commute that you retired to avoid.

Who doesn’t like rich, dark chocolate? These incredible brownies are just shy of qualifying for fudge status, and I’ve been able to adapt them to gluten free when necessary. A friend gave me this recipe 20+ ago, and it has been a staple since. I’ve seen variations of this recipe in foodie magazines, but I still like my original best. I vary the flavors for different tastes, and have included our three favorites below. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Working in the tight confines of the studio, I’ve learned my hair is a great place to hold pencils, blending sticks and vine charcoal. There have been classes where I looked like a porcupine with all the tools of the trade sticking out of my head. Now I need to learn to take them out at the end of class. I recently went to the grocery store and the dry cleaners with a 2B pencil in my hair after class, and no one told me. I am well on my way to being the Neighborhood Eccentric.

We are all creatures of habit, and changing 30+ years of fully-ingrained habits is about as easy as putting together anything from IKEA – there are always screws or bolts left over that you know should have been included, but you can’t figure out where they were supposed to go. You’re left with the sinking feeling the whole thing is going to fall apart at the worst possible moment.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. No, that is not a trite simile. I am now retired. Yesterday was tough – all the final goodbyes, the packing up of my laptop and phone, and finally, looking at my now-bare desk. Bittersweet. This six month journey was filled with experiences – some wonderful, and some challenging. I have some final comments on my work transition before this blog really becomes about retirement.