I need to apologize a bit for the lack of updates. I did some traveling in January, and when I got back worked with my doctors to try tweaking the prescriptions a bit. That didn’t work the way I’d hoped, so it’s been stopped and we’re back to where we were. The changes sometimes made things a bit of a thrill ride, which makes concentration and focus a challenge, which makes writing basically impossible, so there have been a few lost days.

On the plus side, I’ve dug back into my plan to learn Swift and get going on building my App, and I’m happy with that progress. I’ve also been working on formalizing the design of the app (instead of just talking about it) and building up the gameplay so it’s ready when I want to code, and I’m happy with the progress there. If you missed it, I posted the project summary last week.

Other good news: the weight loss continues. I’ve made it down to 375, dropping 4 in January and 2 so far this month. That puts me at a full 40 pounds from my high and 25 since October 1. I see the changes and more importantly, feel them, and it’s really nice to finally be able to sustain this.

In the photography world, not much to report. In case you haven’t been watching, it’s actually been raining in California, and that’s limited my ability to schedule time to go out into the Central Valley and shoot the refuges, at least in part because some of the refuges and roads leading to them have been flooded out and closed. whoops. But we do need the water…

Salton Sea

The January trip was to go visit family in SoCal, plus talk to the contractor that’s been working on the houses and do a formal inspection of the work. I also had a chance to go out to dinner with the tenants and catch up. Short trip, but very good one. We’re close to ending the work on one house, and have a plan in place to work on the other — mostly dealing with the fact that Mom as she got older simply wasn’t up to doing this and didn’t want to delegate it to us, so we have some deferred maintenance, and my sister has some changes she wants to make to the main house before she moves in. We’re getting there…

After that trip, I decided to head out and take the long road home and headed out into the desert to finally visit Salton Sea, which I’ve wanted to bird since about 2008 and never quite got there. Not sure the last time I visited that place, but it had to be in the 1960s. Boy, has it changed, and it looked really sad to see the abandoned buildings and other areas that used to be right on the shoreline.

This part of the trip didn’t go so well, unfortunately. I made it to Sonny Bono National Wildlife Refuge fine and looked around a bit, then decided to explore a bit before finding my hotel room. I found a road that looked promising and started heading down it, and it turned from asphalt to gravel, and gravel to dirt, and then..

Did I mention that we’ve had some rain in California? Yup. Including out in the deserts around Salton Sea. And just as I was starting to think maybe this road wasn’t the best place to be, all my wheels cut loose in the mud and I found myself out in the middle of a big wallow, not going anywhere. Fortunately, this is why I have AAA, and 45 minutes later the nice tow truck guy arrived, waded out and attached a chain to the beast and hauled me back to dry land. And when I apologized profusely for being an idiot, he laughed and told me he’s seen people do a lot worse — and he sounded sincere.

In any event, that ended my interest in birding for the day, so I decided to head in to the hotel and crash, only to find my hotel reservations had disappeared. Because, it turns out, I had sent up the room for the day before by mistake. So I found a Starbucks, settled down in the parking lot to settle my nerves down, made new hotel reservations (thank you, mobile app ecosystem) and crawled in and collapsed in a heap of draining adrenalin.

Sometimes trips are magical and wonderful photographs appear in your camera as if by magic. And sometimes, you screw up your reservations and eat lunch sitting in a big pond of mud waiting for tow trucks and wondering why you did this to yourself.

So I did the only rational thing: I declared defeat, headed home the next morning instead of going back for more birding, and instead visited a couple of Wildlife Refuges (Kern and San Luis) on the way back, which was nice and relaxing (well, except for the 90 minute traffic snarl in LA, as usual) and even better, on familiar territory, which at that point I kind of needed.

And I do have some photos from those to refuges, but haven’t worked on them yet.

And so 2017 has started out in very interesting ways, on so many levels. Fortunately, not all of them as bad as having to get winched out of a mud puddle… And by the way, I still need to wash the beast, but it’s been raining…