RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: February 2014

Trying To Quiet My Inner Magpie

My original title was “Quieting My Inner Magpie,” but I realized very quickly I’m only “attempting” to quiet her. The actuality is that I’m not doing a very good job at it.

magpie-wPhoto “borrowed” from Wikipedia – much as a magpie would do!

I’m not sure there is an actual scientific basis for it, but anecdotally speaking, magpies (all crows, actually – but ESPECIALLY magpies) have a reputation for being attracted to shiny things. So when I find myself easily distracted, I like to joke that it’s my inner magpie’s fault!

But I’m finding that by giving my “inner magpie” free rein, a lot of my time is getting eaten up jumping from one thing to another. And as fun as it is, (and it IS fun!) it is not leaving me with a feeling of having accomplished much at the end of the day. More and more I am feeling the need to get control of her and re-focus my attention of the things I “should” be doing.

The internet is a major source of “shiny things” in my life. I sit down to look up one quick thing, and that leads me to another, which leads me to another, and the next thing I know, 3 hours have elapsed. Repeat that several times a day, and by bedtime I’m wondering where the day went. Few things are crossed off my to-do list, and the next day’s list is already in the hole. Or whatever it was just doesn’t get done. Ever.

But wait. Maybe this is what old age (older age?) is supposed to be like? Time to just enjoy life without having to feel like every day is full of actual, physical, tangible accomplishments? Hmmmm….I like that. This is going in a direction I hadn’t anticipated! Maybe my whole premise is inaccurate. Instead of trying to quiet my inner magpie, should I be embracing her as a reward for having been a focused, productive person for all of my adult life? Okay. I’m liking this.

Ha! Yet another of those shifts in attitude! I wonder if I can do it. Can I go from measuring my success not by what I’ve accomplished, but by whether or not what I did gave me pleasure? Is it even desirable? Yet another interesting concept that is going to take some reflection.

Getting Ready For Baby

We have a baby on the way – our fourth (and last) grandchild (the 3rd granddaughter) could be making her debut any day now.

So Gawgs needs to get a move on! I have announcements to make as well as her name (Alexis) in wooden letters for the wall of her room.

Mama decided on a cute pattern called “Zoo Garden” for her room, and I’ll be designing her announcements (and letters) to match. This is a photo of the quilt that goes with the set, and I’ll be attempting to use a similar giraffe motif for the announcement.

zooquilt-w

I made the announcements for the first three babies, but this will be my most ambitious undertaking yet.

So I have stacks of paper and envelopes waiting to be transformed.

giraffepaper-w

We’re lookin’ at about 80 announcements, so I’m going to be one busy Gaga! I’d better get to it!

To Cruise or Not to Cruise…

That is the question!

There are pros and cons, I’ll tell you! (More pics to follow thoughts!)

I was NOT looking forward to our cruise, other than having two weeks of Mr. Tattered to myself. But he was really excited to see the Panama Canal, and there really isn’t a better way to do it, so we went.

My biggest objection to cruising is the focus on food. Having such terrible issues with my weight, I HATE putting myself in the position to have so much available whenever the urge strikes. ESPECIALLY when it is so good. But, I was remarkably good. I didn’t deprive myself (see peanut butter pie post!) but I didn’t over do on the quantities.

We avoided the buffet as much as we could, and when we did go, I was pretty selective in my choices. Being a vegetarian helped because it’s a pretty meat intensive place, so my options were often limited. Even in the dining room where we were encouraged to try more than one dish in each course, I was good, often just taking a few bites of each, rarely cleaning my plate. My poor waiter was concerned they weren’t satisfying my needs. My outsides look like I rarely miss a meal, so I couldn’t blame him. Anyway, the point is, I wasn’t too bad, so the food issue can be dealt with.

My other main concern going in was “formal nights.” Mr Tattered wanted to go, I didn’t. But then he looks great in dress-up clothes. I look like a cow. Dressing up. BUT, at the last minute I was able to put together a few outfits I felt good about, and it was actually fun. I hadn’t worn high heels since I broke my ankle a couple of years ago, and I thought those days were over. But, I hadn’t disposed of them, so I tried on my favorites (ones I bought just a week before I broke my ankle and had NEVER worn) and I could walk in them! Slowly, carefully, but I could do it! YAY! So, objection number two resolved.

Then there were the plusses. We really don’t like living out of suitcases or packing and unpacking to go from place to place. That limits options. With cruising you pack once, unpack on the ship, then your room goes with you from location to location. I LOVED it. Plus, “on the water” is my happy place and we spent a lot of time there! There were eight sea days on this trip, so I spent a fair amount of time hanging over the rail looking for sea critters and generally enjoying the wind in my hair. We also walked around the deck every day, and even in the humidity, most days the wind made it comfortable. Even more time was spent on deck lounges reading away (thus the photo of toes with ocean in the background!) With an iced coffee close by. There are worse ways to spend days.

Our cabin steward was friendly and so very helpful. He brought me a bucket of ice every morning and evening, made the beds, brought fresh towels, anticipated our need for beach towels on shore days. Except that I had to dress myself, (thank goodness!) I felt a little like “Lady Mary.” Spoiled rotten!

But the best part is that sleeping onboard makes it possible to see places that normally we wouldn’t feel safe going. Take Columbia, for instance. The chances of EVER going there by plane and fending for ourselves were slim and none. This way, the cruise line vets the tour company, and if there is an indication there is unrest at the port stop, they change the itinerary. It isn’t perfect, but it adds a degree of safety that made us feel more comfortable.

This has opened up the potential for going places that I know we NEVER would have gone otherwise. Well, we’re actually in negotiations, but at least I’m not getting a flat out “NO!”

The minor issues are the focus on shopping, and paying for entertainment we aren’t interested in. So. Just because they are encouraging you to spend money hand over fist, doesn’t mean you need to do it. I bought a cute sun hat onboard. I had brought my REI ball cap for tours, but it looked kinda hokey on the ship, and the one I found was VERY reasonably priced and travel friendly. Good purchase. I ignored the gold and jewels and all the other stuff they try to tempt you with, even when they funneled us through the cruise-line-owned shops on shore. I bought a few souvenirs and gifts, but I tried to go with the locals, and spent very little.

And the entertainment? Well, we just did an attitude adjustment on that. We were paying for stuff we didn’t want or need, but so what? We had a great time. And, we heard that the comedian onboard was quite good, so we went to two of his shows and really enjoyed them. I can see a show or two in our future.

Hahaha! Our future! Yeah, I think we’ll be cruising again! Oh, yeah. I almost forgot, duh…we prebooked another yet-to-be-named one – guess we will! I’m thinking the 28 day cruise to Hawaii, Tahiti and Bora Bora. I know. I’m very spoiled. I know it, and I appreciate it. But, once again, it’s all a product of having lived frugally for the majority of our lives. I find myself very glad that we drove cars ’till they died, didn’t try to keep up with the Jones’, never wore designer clothes, and bought our bedroom furniture at a garage sale, then kept it for 20 years. This is the pay off (assuming we both stay healthy. If we don’t, I might be a little unhappy!)

So, how about a few more pics for the road? These will be the last for this trip!

cemetaryPCT2014-wCemetery – Aruba

litlighthousePCT2014-wCalifornia Lighthouse – Aruba

sunsetPCT2014-wOcean Sunset

streetsignPCT2014-wStreet Signs – Cartagena, Columbia

us:fort2014-wMe and Me. Tattered – Cartagena, Columbia

travelersPCT2014-wTravelers -Panama Canal

lakegatunPCT2014-wLake Gatun – Panama

birdssunsetPCT2014-wAnother  Ocean Sunset

bridgefeetPCT2014-wSuspension Bridge – Costa Rica

stairsPCT2014-wSteps – Costa Rica

heronPCT2014-wBlue Heron – Costa Rica

gingerPCT2-14-wGinger – Costa Rica

ugmonkeyPCT2014-wOld Capuchin – Costa Rica

And that will do it! Next trip, Lake Tahoe this summer. I’m sure my tattered lens will be out and going crazy again! Thanks again for sticking with me for all this!

Ooooh, I Arted, I Actually Arted!

For the first time in weeks and weeks, I actually took the time to do some art.

My local art group had their twice a month meeting today. I missed the first one of the month while we were gone, so it was wonderful to get back and participate today.

It’s a time for working on whatever you want to do, and I chose to pull out the gelli plate today. Man I love that thing. I did a bunch of backgrounds, some in my go to palette of beiges, browns, blacks and reds, and some in greens, blues, beige and brown.

background06-w

background05-w

background04-w

background03-w

background02-w

background1-w

None of these are complete. I will be photocopying them onto thinner cardstock, then adding stamping, more paint, and a variety of other embellishments to use as “tip-ins” for my journal.

One of the things that is so fun working with the gelli plate is that you never know what you’re going to get! Some of the areas I like the most are the result of laying the paper on the messy plate to clean up extra paint, pulling it off and finding that LAYERS of paint have pulled up in ways you didn’t even know were there! It’s just a blast!

It suddenly dawned on me that I could lay down book pages, music sheets and scrapbook paper onto the watercolor paper before laying it onto the plate. Seriously, there are so many options. I’ll be doing this again soon – it makes me smile!

Through a Tattered Lens – Panama Canal Cruise

Whenever I go on a trip I take all the obligatory photos. I try to do them in an artistic way, but let’s face it, there are just so many ways to photograph all the iconic views of a given place. Yesterday I gave you a normal view of the cruise.

My favorite photos are the ones that depict the more goofy things that strike my fancy. Those are the ones I group into what I call “Through a Tattered Lens.” The photos taken BY Ms. Tattered, FOR Ms. Tattered. I like to share a few here and there, just so you can experience a little of the world through my eyes. So today I’m going to show you the things I notice that others may not. Just a sampling. I take WAAAAAY too many pictures. Or so I’m told. Bear with me here, I whittled them down as far as I could. These are just my very favorites…

feetPCT2014-wOnboard ship, this was a common view for me!

lighthousePCT2014-wCalifornia Lighthouse – Aruba

fortlightsPCT2014-wFort – Cartagena, Columbia

walltexturePCT2014-wWall at Fort – Cartagena, Columbia

fruitPCT2014-wFruit Vendor – Cartagena, Columbia

balconyPCT2014-wBalcony – Cartagena, Columbia

favwallPCT2014-wWall, Old Town – Cartagena, Columbia

gratePCT2014-wGrate, Old Town – Cartagena, Columbia

containersPCT2014-wContainers on Ship – Panama Canal

throughbridgePCT2014Bridge Over Lake Gatun – Panama

maintvehiclePCT2014-wMaintenance Vehicle – Panama

(This cracked me up – a maintenance vehicle obviously needing maintenance!)

bridgePCT2014-wUnderside of Bridge in Lake Gatun – Panama

tileroofPCT2014-wTile Roof – Putarenas, Costa Rica

bromiliadsPCT2014-wBromiliads on Roof – Putarenas, Costa Rica

treetrunkPCT2014-wRainforest Tree Truck – Putarenas, Costa Rica

vinesPCT-wVines – Putarenas, Costa Rica

leafcutterantsPCT2014-wLeafcutter Ants – Putarenas, Costa Rica

cocacolaPCT2014-wREAL Coke, made with sugar cane, not sugar beets like in the US.

I’m sorta glad they don’t make it like this here in the states…

Puerto Chiapas, Mexico

turtlePCT2014-wSea Turtle – Coast of Mexico

dolphinPCT2014-wDolphins – Coast of Mexico

sanpedroPCT2014-wPort – San Pedro

If you’ve made it all the way here, thanks for sticking with me. I promise not to do it too often. Hope you enjoyed the off-kilter side of the trip!

Cruise Photo Central

I know. Vacation photos. I don’t blame you if you don’t want to stay. They can be hard to take. But there have been those who have actually asked to see them, so I’m going to oblige. I have picked the most representative three photos from each of the 5 stops on the cruise, so as not to bore you completely to death. It’s not an easy chore since I took nearly 1000 photos, but I’ve now that I’ve gotten them whittled down to under 600, it’s a LITTLE easier.

Today will be a sampling of normal pictures, like anyone would take, then tomorrow I’ll show you the ones that are my faves through my “tattered” lens.

Aruba:

arubabridge2014-w Natural Bridge

arubacactus2014-wArid Island

arubahouses2014-wVery Colorful Houses

Cartegena, Columbia:

cartegenanew2014-wSurprisingly Large City – New Area

cartegenafort-wThe Old Fort

cartegenaarchitechture2014-wArchitecture of the Old City

Panama Canal:

panamacanallocks2014-wHeading into the Locks

panamacanallocks2-2014-wIn the Lock – Double Gates

panamacanallocks3-2014-wApproaching the Man Made Lake Gatun

Puntarenas, Costa Rica (our favorite stop):

putaneraslandscape2014-wCoastline View From Suspension Bridge

putanerasrainforest2014-wRainforest From Safari Boat

puntanerastree2014-wTropical Vegetation

Puerto Chiapas, Mexico:

puertochiapasbay2014-wThe Bay

puertochiapasstreets2014-wBusy City Streets

puertochiapasfountain2014-wRestful City Square

This is only the very tip of the iceberg, and I hope a good overview of the land portion of the trip. There was sooooooo much to see. I mentioned in an earlier post that I was not terribly excited about going on this trip initially, but I’m so glad I did. It was hot and humid, and I wouldn’t want to live in this area of the world, but I’m so glad I got to see just a little of it in person!

Stay tuned tomorrow for some of the more unusual things that caught my eye!

Checking In With Organizing

I’m not NEARLY through sharing my little trip with you, but I’m going to take a break tonight to talk about my word for the year, ORGANIZE, and give you an update on how that is working in my life. There are both mental and physical reasons for the lack of organization, but the physical is easier to deal with, so I’m starting there.

I’ve mentioned before that we’ve been going through “growing pains” (for lack of a better word) around here. Now that we’ve combined two homes into one, our space is just no longer adequate. But, we love the house, and love the location, and we’re determined to make it work.

So, something has to give. It took awhile to figure out what that “something” would be, but we did it. Or at least part of it.

The beginnings of the idea go back a few weeks. We were enjoying a glass of wine at the home of some friends in the neighborhood. They have a house much larger than ours, but they have it set up in a non-traditional way that makes it very functional for the way they live, using rooms for things not as they were originally intended. When we applied that principle to our house, we realized that we don’t EVER use our dining room. It is very pretty, but it, for all intents and purposes, wasted space, using it as it was designed.

What we really need is an office, not a dining room. So, Mr. Tattered and I put our heads together and figured out a way to convert it without it looking completely horrible. Rather than doing an actual remodel, we re-decorated. We moved hutches to create walls around what was an open dining area, purchased functional, but attractive office furniture to put in there, and a gorgeous curio cabinet for the space in the family room where we used to have a large, but not very functional desk. The result is a reasonably attractive office (which we have dubbed the “man cave”) and a more spacious family room that has more storage space.

The curio cabinet is my favorite new piece. It’s from Pottery Barn (one of my favorite stores.) I initially saw it months ago, and although I fell instantly in love with it, I had all the furniture I had room for, so I pushed it into the back of my mind, thinking it would never be mine. Then the new plan was put together, I remembered the cabinet and set out in search of it, not really thinking it would still be available. But,¬† lo and behold, it was still in the on-line catalog, and best yet, on sale. And did I mention it’s red? Yeah, red. How could I POSSIBLY resist?

redhutch-w

I can’t fill it yet, because we have wiring issues that need to be addressed before it can go against the wall, but it’s going to look GREAT!

Those wiring issues represent yet another organizational problem, and this only about half of it.

wires-w

Technology is amazing, but it seems that no one has been able to overcome the mess that all the wires associated with technology come with. We’ve tried a number of different systems, but none of them work. I swear we sort them all out, turns our backs for five minutes and they’re all intertwined again. We lessened the mess by separating the wires into two different areas, but someone could make a gazzillion dollars if they could come up with an actual solution.

We’re still working on the office, so I’ll wait to take photos in there until it is a little more together, but trust me, we’re off to a good start. AND the process is getting me excited about continuing the process in other rooms. Ya hear that studio? I’m comin’ for ya!

%d bloggers like this: