Sunday, May 31, 2015

Going to Get Fixed

As I prepare for hysterectomy surgery tomorrow afternoon, I suddenly realized that Millie is up in doggie heaven today laughing herself silly.  It's payback time-- finally my turn to go to the vet to "get fixed"!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

RESOLVED: The Sudden, Tragic Death of Windows Live Writer

UPDATE 6/7/15:  Looks like Windows Live Writer is back in business and able to publish to Blogger again!  There is a God!

After publishing my last post late Monday night, it appears Google finally turned off their old authentication system (that allowed third-party apps to store your Google login/password and log in automatically on your behalf).

As a result, the blog authoring software I've used to create this blog for the past 9 years (Windows Live Writer, or WLW for short) has now died a sudden, tragic death.  It is no longer able to publish to Google's Blogger service, because Microsoft never bothered to update it.

Monday, May 25, 2015

A Very Different Memorial Day

This Monday in May honors all the brave American Armed Forces men and women who sacrificed their lives to provide the freedoms we currently enjoy.  A good day to also share my visit to a very thought-provoking military national landmark in central New Mexico this past April.

I began the morning of April 4th at around 5:30 a.m. in the pitch black darkness before sunrise.  It was time to witness another burst of orange in the sky-- a lunar eclipse (a.k.a. “blood moon”).

Lunar Eclipse IMG_1408

While still somewhat brisk, this New Mexico morning was not as nearly cold as photographing the eclipse a year ago from my snowy backyard in Chicago in the middle of the night!  With that “astro-geek” mission accomplished, I returned to the RV for breakfast and to prepare for the real event of the day—a visit to the Trinity Site.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Bosque Wildlife – early Spring

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is well-known for its large migratory flocks of Sandhill Cranes, Snow Geese, and ducks that call Bosque “home” from mid October to mid February.  At peak, there can be over 50,000 of these birds snuggled together on the Refuge, and it is a top destination for photographers, birders, and crane-lovers.

I originally visited Bosque twice during those winter months (take a look here and here) and came away with some nice photos of the signature flocks.  But what would there be to see and photograph during a non-prime season at Bosque, specifically in March?

Bosque Road March IMG_7371

I would soon find out!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Life of a Bosque Volunteer

While I wait here in Chicago for my medical fun to begin (June 1st is my new surgery date), I thought I’d start catching the blog up on my time spent in New Mexico volunteering earlier this Spring.

When I arrived to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in mid-March, Spring had yet to arrive to central New Mexico’s elevation of 4,500 feet…and I had yet to learn whether this volunteer RVing lifestyle would be all I had hoped it would be.   Would it feel like a J-O-B?  Would I get bored?  Would I fit in with others working the Refuge? Would I learn the vast amount of necessary information quickly enough to become an effective resource to visitors?  Would I want to continue doing volunteer gigs like this in the future?

Bosque North Loop March IMG_7390

It didn’t take long for Spring to “spring” or for me to get the answers to all of these burning questions!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Windy City Whirlwind

After a week-long 1,500-mile trip from New Mexico, and a terrific “welcome home” dinner with family, I had a nice few days of rest here at my favorite Chicagoland campground, Burnidge Forest Preserve. The weekend concluded with a sunset poking beneath these dramatic springtime Midwest storm clouds.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Paradise Interrupted

Volunteering at Bosque P1010573

I had intended to now start posting about my wonderful time volunteering at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico.  To share all the amazing wildlife I’ve been seeing and learning about, and share stories about all the wonderful people I’ve met here in New Mexico’s Land of Enchantment (from Refuge staff and volunteers, to visitors and local townspeople). 

Most importantly, to share how fulfilled and profoundly “balanced” the call to nature and wildlife volunteer service has made me feel.  Infinitely better than the increasing guilt and emptiness I’d been feeling of trying to fit into the rather self-indulgent, self-absorbed “bucket-list tourist” mold of some other retired full-time RVers-- all candy!  all the time!

But the road beyond Candyland, it appears, is not always smooth and effortless—it can sometimes be one heck of an off-road, rock-crawling adventure.  Last week, my life veered off into one of these new and very unexpected detours.  Time to hold on to the handle bars for quite a ride!

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