Friday, July 25, 2014

Millie will be “Sofa-less” in 4 weeks!

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What an incredibly strange and amazing week this has been!  I started the week in complete stress mode trying to get my presentation finished for my first library speaking engagement, and was also worrying about all the work still left to do to get the house ready to list by my self-imposed deadline of Aug. 1st.  It turned a bit chilly here this week, and with that, the realization that snow will be flying here in Chicago again in just a few short months started to sink in.

What to do? What to do???

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Is This Still Illinois?

I’ve been visiting some great nature preserves around the Chicago area recently in preparation for my first Master Naturalist presentation next week at an area library.  I’ve been to most of them before, but one last weekend, was a first-time visit for me, and I must say…I was blown away!

When one thinks of Illinois natural landscapes, you likely think of something like this entrance to the Green River Wildlife area (surrounded by corn and soybean farm fields):

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Flat as a pancake…. boring…. get me out of this visually-depressing state!!!

Maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll find a patch of tallgrass prairie…

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or a grove of bur oaks, a little creek, or even a sandy dune along Lake Michigan’s shores.  

One thing you would NOT expect to find this far south of Canada is a boreal bog surrounded by tamarack trees.  Yet, we’ve got one right here in northern Illinois-- Volo Bog!

Volo Bog Panorama

Yes, this is in Illinois!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

3 Great “Secret” Deals Uncovered

Now that I’m a happy, penny-pinching early retiree, I’ve got nothing better to do all day than search for great deals that will cost as few pennies as possible!  (when I’m not working away to prepare the house to sell and start full-time RVing, of course!).

penny pincher

In the past few months, I’ve discovered quite a few good deals.  Most have been very obvious and easy to obtain, but a few have not been.  In fact, they’ve literally seemed buried deep within their popular corporate websites, needing some sort of secret handshake or top-secret NSA backdoor security clearance to unlock!

Well, I’m here to reveal 3 of these favorite “secret” deals for you now.  If you don’t see a new blog post from me within a couple of weeks….Putin may have put me on a plane to Siberia!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Finding My “Way” in the Dark

Ever since getting a bit of “dumb luck” in shooting this photo a few winters ago at Joshua Tree National Park, I’ve been fascinated by night photography, particularly night landscapes.

WinnieViews at JoshuaTree

Last year, I discovered the Into The Night group on Flickr (as well as its excellent companion blog by Royce Bair) which provided a never-ending source of inspiration and knowledge.  But it seemed every time I tried to plan a nighttime photo shoot, I was stymied by one thing or another—wrong camera, wrong lens, wrong exposure settings, wrong time of year, wrong moon phase, or wrong weather.  With each failed attempt, though, I learned a tiny bit more than I had known before, so “progress” none the less.

This year, I set a goal for myself to finally capture photos of the Milky Way.  It’s taken months of planning and waiting for just the right conditions, but finally (FINALLY!) two nights ago, I did it!

Friday, June 27, 2014

My Craigslist Angel (and a few more)

So far, my experiences with selling nearly all of my worldly possessions on Craigslist have been better than expected.  In the past few weeks, I’ve sold 16 items for a net total just of over $3,000 in cash!  Now, mind you, I’m not thinking about how much I actually paid for all these items new—much too depressing to go there!   What I’ve not anticipated, though, is how interesting and varied each and every buyer has been.  

My very first sales transaction is this Thule bike rack, sold (after just one day!) to a guy named Lou with a long, unpronounceable last name who is driving out from the city to get it.

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My mind races with thoughts of all those well-worn Craigslist horror stories—He could be a mad rapist!  A burglar! A serial killer!!! 

Great 15% off Deal from our friends at SprinterLife