As you can tell, I’ve finally found some spare cycles to get a post out. It has been amazingly busy around Intrigued as of late thanks to two 30 year celebrations at work (wife and I), trying to finalize the schedule for Linda’s heart valve replacement at Mayo’s and then the quickly approaching 50K running event next Saturday (crap, I can’t believe that deadline has come up so fast). As a result, my blogging and, well, just about all my secondary activities have been clipped (especially my Halloween production which is most troubling). Every spare cycle has been spent pounding out miles on the road and on the trails – latter when the rain gods finally give me a chance. I remember Ron mentioning his concern for me reaching my monthly blog quota which at the time still has a few weeks to go. I had some concerns as well, but thanks to a good dose of posts on the mothership blog today’s last minute post will cover that (B. in the UK might appreciate the theme of the pumpkin post – link here). Unfortunately, the last two weeks have had additional concerns that had/have me a bit troubled. A week ago, I was working on more of the bathroom remodeling, simply stepped down from putting up window trim and felt a stabbing pain right in the middle of the tendon than comes down on top of the ankle from the shin into the foot. Actually though it had ripped off. Puffed up and hurt like hell. Had Linda look at it after an ice treatment and we eventually found a puncture point that might have caused it – possibly another bee sting in a critical point like the back episode earlier in the year. Ended up being able to run on it without serious pain so continued on until the swelling subsided 2 or three days later. Then yesterday I was getting the last long trail run in and managed to turn my ankle 90 degrees thanks to not seeing a rock underneath the mud. Unfortunately, that was between mile 8 and 9 which is the farthest point from the car. Knowing what happens if you let your ankle realize it is hurt, journeyed on for another 5 miles. A day later the ankle is still swollen and twinges under weight. Definitely do not need this so close to the starting line. Will nurse it for a few days and give it a short test Wed just so I know what to expect during the race – wish me luck.
In recognition of being immobilized at the moment, figured it would be fitting to feature a creature that has a natural ability to leverage the concept of immobility.
Yes, bringing out one of the big boys of the birding world on this final day of June. Truth be told, I do not feature this bird much on the blog thanks to the thousands of images already in the portfolio. The Great Blue Heron is one of the birds you can see just about everywhere in the continental US. They do prefer to breed in southern Canada and down into the Dakota areas, but for the most part spend their time year-round wading through any body of water they can find across the states (except for a very odd finger down the eastern part of Idaho, Utah area according to Cornell – may be the Rockies, will have to investigate that a bit more later).
Hit the jump to view a few more shots of these dagger-billed Herons.
Continue reading Concerns Warranted
Seems like an odd time to be pulling out a Halloween post don’t ya’ think? Truth be told, we were celebrating my friend in haunt’s (Brad’s) 30 year service anniversary at work and the topic of Halloween came up – which to be honest isn’t that odd as we are often talking about Halloween – a year long holiday for the two of us. Brad is working on building a CNC machine which I am hoping is ready before too long. I have big plans for that thing hehehe. Anyway, all that talk about Halloween reminded me I still had some 2018 Halloween posts I had not gotten to. So, tonight I bring you the annual Halloween pumpkin carving for 2018.
Only 7 month’s late, but what the hell that’s nothing compared to the backlog of wildlife pictures I need to get through. After the yeoman work of putting on the Annual Halloween Haunted Trail event (link here) at the beginning of October, it always seems a bit of a letdown when the actual Day of Haunt comes around. Last year we opted to drive around to check out the worthy displays in the surrounding local towns. When we got back I was truly inspired and went to work on getting the final carving done on the foam pumpkin.
Hit the jump to see some progress shots.
Continue reading Project Halloween Butters and Dragons
Evident by the fact this post has been published, I can officially say I once again survived Illinois’ Toughest 15K race which was held this morning in an absolute downpour. I’ll save the details on today’s adventure for a future post because I need to get to the race queue before I get too far behind. As a follow up to yesterday’s post on the Illini Marathon 5K race, tonight’s post brings us the main event.
The morning after the 5K is the official Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K events. Once again opted for the Half Marathon this year as there is already a big-ass race planned for July – no need to go crazy on this one. True to course for this weekend, there were more early forecasts for cold, rain, wind … yep, the usual for late April in the Midwest. In a stroke of luck the rain moved through during the night and the rest pushed off until later that day leaving a cool but very accommodating climate for a long race.
Hit the jump to read details on the day.
Continue reading The Illini Half – 3 Makes 1
Another race is upon me – tomorrow to be exact. As mentioned in the previous racing post, I hate to go past 4 races before getting the recollections out. You never know what might happen during a race and I’d hate to have you miss out on recollections thanks to me being in the hospital ha! After the Allerton race (link here). Next up was the standard Illini Marathon race. Once again, I was signed up for the I-Challenge consisting of a 5K on Friday followed by the Half Marathon the following morning.
Since transitioning to Trail running, my enthusiasm for pounding out miles on the road has dwindled. So many years of doing the same thing and now completely enjoying the new challenges of the trails dampened my enthusiasm for this race. The good news is I already had a double race of the same distance under my belt so the body was physically prepared. The mental part was the struggle for once again it looked to be another end of April crappy weather day.
Hit the jump to read about how the race went!
Continue reading Oh, That’s Why It has Cross in the Name
Greetings Intrigued fans. This was a pretty busy weekend as we headed up north for a little fun in the sun and, of course, a bit of agility dog showing. Linda decided she wanted to ignore the advice of her heart specialist and get a few agility runs in with Raven. He needed one more successful standard run to move to the next competition level. She promised to take it easy in the ring so I relented and agreed to it. Should probably mentioned she did bribe me with the opportunity to get some trail running training in (their trails were not flooded out like our local ones are) and the cherry on top, a day of birding with Ron and his wife. Raven ended up getting it done in the ring going 3 for 4 while Linda managed to keep her heart under control. I managed to get a solid 13 miles in putting me in good position for next week’s 15K considered Illinois’ toughest, but reminded me just how hard the 50K is going to be a few weeks later. Still a bit sore from yesterday’s run, was still able to get a solid day of birding in – think we came in at the high 30’s species mark for the day. Once all that was out of the way, we had to race home to watch the St Louis Blues try to claim the Stanley Cup. One frustrating element was the lack of Internet where we were camping arrrrrgggghhhh! Had plans to get caught up on my running post – nope. While sitting here watching the Blues (now down 2 goals) thought I’d jump on the computer and crank out a quick post.
It’s a bittersweet post today as this officially wraps up all the worthy shots from the Georgia birding trip back in May 2015. With all the bird shots out of the way, it is time to give some time those non-feathered creatures hanging out in the region. Before I begin though, if you are looking for good shots of dragons and butters you should leave this post immediately and head on over to see B’s work over at Butterflies to Dragsters (link here). I’m a bit embarrassed to even put these out after seeing his work behind the macro. So, if you are still here, let’s get to some non-birds shall we.
Hit the jump to see the last shots from the Georgia trip.
Continue reading Featherless
30 years ago today, I woke up early, put the suit on my parents were gracious enough to buy me so I looked decent for my corporate interviews. I wasn’t heading to an interview that day, rather to my new job with wide eyes, a little bit of fear and ambitions to help build a better world. That day I joined 16 other individuals also entering the corporate world many of which have stayed very close friends to this day. One in particular turned out to be extra special as I eventually married one of those classmates – Linda. As you can infer she is also celebrating her 30 year anniversary. Since those first few months in the college grad training program I’ve had the opportunity to see far off places, engage with coworkers all across the world on a daily basis and develop/design/architected systems that play critical roles from engineering, manufacturing, financial and IT. Sure doesn’t feel like it’s been that long until you remember back on the on the great people you have met along the way. The best part of it all (besides marrying my best friend of course) is the financial independence it has brought allowing me to pursue my other passions which brings us directly to today’s post!
Yep, the second part of the Georgia birding dump. As before, this is basically a close out set of birds photographed while on our trip back in May 2015. The shot above is likely a female brown-Headed Cowbird. Not the best angle for identification since the tail, back and half of the face is obscured. Going solely on the thick black conical bill and the overall gray-brown coloring. Unfortunately, the Brown-Headeds are on my top 5 most hated birds list due to being brood parasites – let’s move on shall we.
Hit the jump to see a few more closing shots of the Georgia haul.
Continue reading Georgia Bird Burst Pt 2 of 2