First and foremost, I'm in an awful place to view anything aside from Saturn, Jupiter, and the brightest stars in the major constellations. My immediate area always has some artificial light source beaming into my eyes, and I've been pretty limited to viewing the southern skies upwards to the summer triangle (I have large shopping plaza about 1/4 mile to my north...).
Since my viewing overhead hasn't been too bad, I decided to concentrate on Lyra for a few nights, and on my first night I was able to split the double-double of Epsilon.
Next, I decided to hunt down M57, but I kept losing my orientation on the way to Sheliak and Sulafat; the Orion EZ Finder II I was using was just too bright, even at the lowest setting, and I kept losing both stars due to artificial light shooting in sideways into my peripheral vision. I was able to see both stars well with averted vision, but I really couldn't line up the scope to either star without a streetlamp killing me softly (did I mention it was directly overhead, and I was contorted just trying to look through the finder??).
However, I received my 9x50 RACI in the mail the other day, and that has made all the difference; I was able to easily hop from Epsilon to Zeta to Sheliak without losing where I was (or breaking my neck). Once I got to Sheliak, I popped in my 2" 28mm Orion DeepView EP that came with the scope, and then gently slewed towards to Sulafat. About halfway there, I discovered a very noticeable, greyish ring. I then used a Celestron 8-24mm Zoom EP, but was losing the ring shape around 12mm (I spent the next 30-min with my 17mm EP, and had a wonderful time).
Anyway, I just wanted to post my experience here, and to thank the CN community for all of the wonderful posts and articles addressing similar conditions and wonderful solutions.
On another note, is there some astronomical anti-cloud dance I can learn? Maybe a zodiacal prayer, or perhaps a magical stellar wand? Any help in that department would be greatly appreciated.
Clear skies to all, and thank you!