Thursday, February 17, 2011

BLIZZARD - Groundhog Day

(This photo taken by our neighbor L. Trevino, day after the blizzard. Our house is on the far right, you can see the snow as high as our kitchen windows.)

We escaped the blizzard by leaving a day early for our trip to Missouri.

This is what we came home to, 4 days later....

I am so ready for spring to come.....sigh.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Big Adjustment - Retired after 33 Years!

On August 14, 2010, the Air Force honored an airman who served 33 years. He served in Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He joined in 1977, and on July 1, 2010, was officially retired from the Air Force.

"He" is my husband, Harold Von De Bur, Master Sergeant.

One of countless military men and women who served this country with honor, dedication, and integrity.

He is pictured on the right, receiving one of several certificates and letters commending his service, from Chaplain Howard Bell. A retirement ceremony is quite an event, and one that many of his fellow airmen attended. It is not common for someone to stay in for 33 years. Most retire when they hit 20 years, still a long time. It is rare for any one in civilian life to stay with one company this long!

No more long deployments, no more phone calls, "can you be at this Base by the 1st of the month?" He was in demand, asked for by name to backfill at other bases. No more weekends or week long UTAs. I like having him home all the time. He already misses his friends, and the routine.

It was where he knew what he was doing, and did it so well that many of the things he did were invisible to his bosses. He was exceptionally good at pre-empting issues early, before they became problems and needed the attention of his superiors. He was very diplomatic in stealing a minute or two from his commanders, who were juggling many things. He knew how to get things done, and was recognized for 100% accuracy in Mobility folders for airmen who were deploying, having stepped in as a Unit Deployment Manager.

Now he needs to find a job that will utilize these skills. We need to translate those skills into civilian/corporate speak and find a place that will appreciate and value his abilities. There's only one of him!

Congratulations MSgt. Harold Von De Bur, on an outstanding service career. Here's to the next adventure!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Storm Chaser...among other things

When I was younger, for various reasons, I decided I was NOT going to be a "housewife." This is not to say I thought housewives' were not valuable. They are probably the most valuable people in the world. They are also the least appreciated. From that perspective, as a young girl I decided it was not for me.

So I embarked on creating a life for me, defined by what I wanted to do, what I liked, and my own natural curiosity. Throw in a measure of "tomboy" and you get an unconventional life.

One of my fascinations has been earth sciences; volcanoes, earthquakes, rock hounding, and weather. In 1994-5, I trained with the National Weather Service to become a storm spotter; someone on the ground who reports back to the NWS live observations of a storm, before, during and after the event. This includes wind speed, hail size, rainfall amounts, and damage reports in severe storms. I started with just giving estimates, to having the equipment to give accurate, "measured" reports. I attend training each spring and even having the experience of 15 years plus, I still learn new things.

A couple years ago, I started attempting to capture my observations with a camera. I have occasionally captured lightning, but only so-so. Until this past weekend. On Sunday, my husband and I were driving around, "observing" the storms that devastated Milwaukee with 7+ inches of rain. There were funnel clouds sighted, and the potential for waterspouts. We drove 3 blocks to the lakefront (yeah, drove 3 blocks, but think about it - heavy rain was coming, along with high winds and hail? I wanted the protection of shelter nearby!) to watch the storm front pass through. No waterspouts. So we drove further north, closer to the storm, and after rescuing one of my petsitting clients (she accidently locked herself out of her home and I have a key) we headed to an open area. All the better to see funnel clouds, hail, and lightning.

Taking shots of lightning requires patience, patience, timing and pure dumb luck. All came together for me.

I got maybe two more "keepers" and then the lightning got too close. Once I snapped a pic, but the image seemed to bleed out of the camera into my hands, and that was way too close. It was just the after-image, but I took it as a hint to take cover. Shortly after, there was a loud crack of thunder and a bolt that seemed to strike right in front of the van. That's enough for me!
The foremost lesson in storm spotting/chasing that they teach, is to always be aware of where you are in relation to the storm, and to STAY SAFE! Translation: Better to live and chase another day, than to die and have your camera blow up in your hands when you're struck by lightning. Kind of spoils the picture if the memory card vaporizes.....
P.S. All images are copyrighted. Von De Bur-2010 Contact me if you'd like permission to use. Nominal compensation is appreciated. SkyWarn logo is copyrighted, contact them for permission to use -