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Back on Track – Cusco Through a Tattered Lens

Well, it took a little more doing than I expected, but I’m finally back on track – photos restored, and Photoshop Elements installed, along with back-up programs that will hopefully make restoring the computer easier, should it be necessary in the future. I’m still experiencing a few minor difficulties, but I’ve got work-arounds until I get it just right. Painful lesson learned.

So with that, I’m ready to finish up the travelog for our Ecuador/Peru trip. So far I’ve shown you our exploration of the Galapagos Islands followed by the days leading up to and including Machu Picchu.

From there we went back to Cusco, where we spent our last 3 days in Peru. I’m tempted to give you a blow by blow because it was so much fun, but now I’ve got another whole trip to share with you, so I think I’ll go with photos and possibly a bit of explanation. You know, my tattered lens photos.

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A common sight along the road

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“C” and “F” on the faucets Caliente (hot) and Frio (cold)

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Another fairly common sight – Older women earning their livings by getting photographed in their traditional garb, and often with llamas.

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Potatoes are a very big deal in Peru. And man, do they ever know how to prepare them!

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Going in, we thought this was a museum for Pisco, a spirit similar to tequila, but made from fermented grapes. Turns out it was like a tequila bar. Mr. Tattered took a little class in making Pisco Sours (my new favorite drink!)

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Another educational program involved learning about Peruvian folk instruments.

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Gaston Acurio, renown Peruvian chef’s restaurant – WOW!

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interesting decor in the restaurant…

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…and extremely good food.

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More education – a cooking lesson!

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Picarones – sweet potato doughnuts with maple syrup…oh, man. What a way to end the trip!

Crisis Averted

I did my last travel post on December 22, then Christmas preparations got under way and I didn’t get back to blogging until December 31st, when I did a little Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016 post.

Then it was on to 2016, and I never did wrap up the remainder of the trip.

Well, shortly after Christmas, I had a little computer crisis. My computer got attacked, and disabled. The geeks at Apple were wonderful, and got me put back together again, but there was some question as to whether or not they had been successful in restoring my photos. To complicate things further, I updated my operating system at the same time, which created new compatibility problems. It’s been a goat rope.

Then I got busy, and didn’t really have the time to dig in and work on restoring things (and if I’m completely honest, I was a little scared to try, so I drug my feet a little.)

Well this weekend I summoned up the courage to try. Not knowing they were gone for sure was comforting, but I really needed to get into them, and if they weren’t there, I needed to know it.

And thankfully, the small amount of worrying I did was for nothing. They are back where they belong. Sort of. I’m still working out a few bugs with Apple support, but we’re almost there. And I’m still facing compatibility issues, and having to reinstall software, but the photos are safe. And backed up. I can breathe again. Crisis averted.

I hope to get Adobe Photoshop Elements installed tomorrow. That’s the program I use to reduce the file size of photos, then I can get back to showing you the last photos from Chile and move on to Antarctica.

Hopefully by the time we leave again, I’ll be all caught up. Just kidding. We won’t be leaving again until spring!

Life can be so complicated!

More Blog Books

Remember back when I discovered “Blog to Print?” Yeah, probably not. It’s been awhile.

It’s a cool website that allows you to create a physical book of your blogs.

I had one made of my first year of blogging, 2011, and liked it so much I ordered more. In 2012 I blogged the whole year, and had too many to fit into one book, and had to split it into Volumes I and II.

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I don’t know why I didn’t go any further. I think it was a combination of time getting away from me and never having time to order while a sale was going on. These puppies aren’t cheap, and I like to hit a sale when I can.

Today I had time AND it was the last day of one of the best sales I’ve seen, so I buckled down and got caught up. Yeah. CAUGHT UP. All the way up.

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And it wasn’t easy. The site is a little cumbersome if you have more than one book to order. And I kept running into things that took my mind off of what I was doing (I’m not going to name names here…let your imagination roam.) I made one frustrating mistake after another, made more difficult by needing to add photos that are no longer on my computer because of my hard-drive crash. Come to find out, the photos I thought were backed up onto an external hard drive weren’t, which opened a whole new can of worms.

I was able to pull photos from camera cards and from Facebook that got the job done, but man, it was time-consuming endeavor.

 

The Autopsy of “Ignite”

Looking back at my word for 2015 makes me a little sad.

I had such big hopes for it.

I really, truly thought this would be the year I either got caught up on all (or at least most) of my unfinished projects, or found new homes for them.

I’m not going to make excuses for why it didn’t happen. The point is, it didn’t. Not only did I NOT get caught up, but I added even more unfinished projects and unused supplies to the piles. No kidding.

Now, to be fair, I did complete a fair number of projects, but I don’t think a single one of them was from the pile of unfinished ones, but new ones that lit my fire. And I’m happy about that. It means I did slightly better than I have in the past at completing things I started. But, nonetheless, that was not the goal.

But truly, I really never even had a chance of success. I never sat down and started a list of unfinished projects so that I could see what needed to be done, and decide if there were some projects I just REALLY didn’t care about anymore, and could pass them along to someone else. There is a non-profit called “Re-create” nearby that accepts supplies people no longer need to resell, and I’ll bet “already set up projects” would be easy for them to move. But I didn’t do it.

As I reflect on how the year went, I seriously can’t remember a single old project I pulled out and even looked at, let alone worked on or completed.

It was a year of new interests. I discovered mosaics,

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made a gorgeous purse for my granddaughter,

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made cards,

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postcards,

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decorated cakes,

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did a bunch of scrapbooking,

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and really, quite a bit more. I really was pretty productive.

So, if “ignite” had been designed to get me motivated to create, it would have been a tremendously successful word. I was on fire!

But alas…the pile of unfinished projects grew, and THAT is distressing.

So. Here we are a week into the the new year. I’ve selected a phrase, rather than a single word (remember? “Walk the path of your heart.”) and I’m hoping that path will take me back to some of those “projects in progress” in addition to getting healthy, learning to decorate cookies, having an amazing travel year, reducing the clutter in my life, deepening the important relationships in my life… oh my stars, do I ever have a year cut out for me!

I haven’t bought any new craft supplies since the start of the new year! Heeheehee! (Hey I’m grasping for positives, here!)

I NEED To Actually Create Something

To satisfy my need to feel like I am creating, I have, at times, had to expand my definition of the word “create.” I’ve “created” memories, “created” a pleasant atmosphere in my home, “created” meals…all in an effort to disguise the fact that it’s been awhile since I did anything creative.

Well, I’ve reached the limits of my ability to twist myself into a pretzel to “feel” creative.

It’s time to actually buckle down and really produce something.

Now, this isn’t a case of me being hard on myself. Or not meeting my own expectations. It’s just a verbal admission that I’m missing the feeling I get from making something.

I’m doing plenty of things for myself. I’m doing yoga, walking, watching what I’m eating, traveling, starting to get the garden cleaned up (that’s a whole post of its own!) getting rid of unnecessary things, and all are rewarding in their own way.

But none of them give me the high I get from taking various components and turning them into something beautiful.

I’ve got a date with my art group on the 15th. I’ll for sure be able to do something then. But I don’t think I can wait that long.

So, now the most pressing challenge is coming up with something that will fit the bill. There are LOTS of projects stacked up, all in varying degrees of completion, and some not even started.

The “F” and “S” mosaics are nearly finished. It probably makes most sense to work on them. But then there’s a paper project I want to do about all the kid’s nicknames. That would probably give me the most satisfaction right now. Hmmmm. Decisions, decisions. Well, really, not such big decisions. In keeping with my desire to finish projects, I really need to do the ones already started, not begin new ones. No brainer. The mosaics win.

Now I just need to find my go bag!

Fitbit – It’s Like Deja Vu All Over Again

Here we go again.

I’ve been here before.

A couple of years ago I got a fitbit, and did remarkably well with it for months, long past the time when it should have become a habit. 10,000 steps a day for months.

Then something happened to throw me off – heck if I can remember what. And I didn’t start back up. Eventually I tried another brand, a Jawbone, with similar results. I did well, fell off the wagon, and didn’t get back on.

I’m so disgusted with my sedentary lifestyle that I bought a new fitbit and I’m starting over again. I have 3 days of 10,000 steps under my belt.

But I haven’t had the kids these three days. Today I started back up, and the challenge was to get in the steps with them.

The plan was to go to the gym and hop on the versa climber. So, after we took Josh to school, Lexi and I headed to the gym. They have a really good kid care set up there, and she was happy to play with the kids.

I turned on some tunes (dance with my pants – it’s something I can listen to over and over and over!) and before I knew it 22+ minutes were gone!

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20 minutes for the first time back was my goal, and it felt good to exceed that without even trying. I even got credit for steps, since you use arms as well as legs on the versa climber. At that point I had 4k steps, and walked around the gym for a few minutes to get to 5k. I figured halfway through my steps that early in the day would be a good start. I rewarded my self with 10 minutes in the sauna!

The rest of the afternoon I regularly reminded myself to walk around the living room a few times every hour, and by the time I got home in the evening, I was within spittin’ distance of my goal, and finished up with a walk after dinner.

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So. 4 days under my belt. I have a long ways to go before this is anything even remotely resembling a habit, but it’s a good start.

On days when I don’t have the kids until later in the morning I’m going to try going to try to go to 5:45am (have I lost my mind???) yoga with my VERY dedicated daughter. She’s a wonderful nag influence on me. I made no promises, but I have 3 late days this week, so I’m going to try. Early days gym, late days yoga. Then on the weekends, one day yoga, one day long hike. NO DAYS OFF. If you’re not exercising, you’re decaying. I’m not ready to decay any further than I already have.

Now, like I said, I’ve been here before. And I blew it. But I’m back, and I’m as enthusiastic as I am capable of being about an exercise program (let’s face it, if you could lose weight and gain strength by sitting on your butt scrapbooking, that would be my preference – but I’ve already explored THAT possibility and it didn’t work!) and that’s all I can expect of myself.

Thanks for bearing with me. I’ll try not to bore you to death with my progress (or lack thereof) but I’m looking to y’all for a little accountability, even if it’s just in my mind that you’re checking up on me!

 

 

 

Yes, I’m Still Celebrating Christmas

Well, not exactly “celebrating” but the decorations are still up.

On purpose, not because of laziness. Okay, truth be told, a little bit of laziness might be entering into it, but not much.

We were away from home for several weeks during the lead up to Christmas. I had decided before we left that I wasn’t going to decorate this year. The time between Thanksgiving was just too filled with “getting ready to leave” stuff.

But, Christmas Eve is when the family comes to our house, and no one wanted to change the venue OR do it without the festive decor. (Shhhhh! By no one, I mean my daughters, but I’m not naming names!) In fact, they hated the idea so much they volunteered to do the decorating themselves while we were gone.

However, that would involve turning over creative control and as hard as I tried, I couldn’t do it. I confess to being a bit of a control freak when it comes to my decorating. I know that my years of going all out on Christmas decor are numbered, but for as long as I’m able, I feel the need to “do it my way.”

The problem is, “my way” is pretty complicated. And time consuming. Something had to give.

So we settled on them putting up the artificial tree, and putting the lights on it, and taking down the every day display of roosters from the top of the entertainment center.  I’d take care of the rest. “The rest,” at that point in time, meant getting all the ornaments on the tree, and the Santa collection displayed, tasks I felt like I could handle fairly quickly. Silly me.

Once I got the tree and the Santas up, the rest of the house looked sad, and I just COULDN’T have a sad-looking house.

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The kid’s tree needed to go up, which was easy enough. It just needed to come down out of the rafters and Bea would do the decorating.

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And how long could it take to put up the angel/shabby chic tree? It’s just little. But then it really needed its table-top decor as well.

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By then there were only a few boxes left – the snowmen, trees and gingerbread decorations. Hell, might as well finish it up. (Oooooops! Probably shouldn’t swear at Christmas decorations, huh?)

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So, a day or two before Christmas Eve it was completed. And I loved how it looked and was happy they had encouraged me to decorate.

But then, in the blink of an eye, it was New Year’s Day, and according to tradition, the day the decorations were to go back up in the garage until next year. In order to start the new year fresh, the house needed to be restored to its daily self. But I wasn’t tired of the Christmas decor. So it was a bit of a battle trying to figure out what to do.

In the end, keeping everything up for another week (or two, maybe) won out, although I have to admit, every morning I think maybe today should be the day.

I really am kind of anxious to get on with the new year, and the decorations are keeping a part of me in the old one.

But then, this is going to be the year where I walk my heart’s path, right? So what is my heart saying? Well, honestly, my brain is screaming so loudly my heart can hardly hear itself think! Getting these three parts of me to work together is going to be a little more of a challenge than I was hoping for! *giggle, giggle!*

 

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