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Welcome To Crazytown!

I know, I disappeared again.

I have a FULL life.

And I mean really full! To the point where living it is cutting into the time I have to write about it! Heeheehee!

Since returning home from Maui, I’ve been chasing-my-tail busy.

I don’t know how I let this happen. Well, yes I do. I want it all, and I want it all NOW! And if I have to stuff 30 hours worth of time into a 24 hour period, and 10 days into a week, well, so be it.

I don’t seem to have any concept of the idea of scheduling downtime. It’s just run, run, run.

As I try to figure out what I can weed out, there just doesn’t seem to be anything. It’s not like I’m doing a bunch of things I don’t want or need to do. And unfortunately, society dictates that I need to shower every once in awhile, and if that has to happen at midnight, it has to happen at midnight. I can sleep when I’m dead. I find that it would be very useful if I could have 5 of me living my life, but I’m guessing that isn’t going to happen.

ANYWAY, back-to-back vacations probably weren’t a GREAT idea, but the timing was sort of beyond our control. So we came home from one trip, emptied our suitcases onto the floor and started repacking.

Hannah needed some “excursion” clothing for our trip to the Galapagos, so that took a little shopping, and since we had a 20% off coupon at REI, I decided getting a pair of good hiking boots to start breaking in for our hiking tour next spring was a good use of time – well, it WAS next spring. I think it’s getting shifted to the fall…

The rest? Well, I didn’t want to miss National Letter Writing Month, and that took a bit of preparation. Okay, more than a bit. I get a little carried away. But it’s only one month a year, and I really like it. I COULD have crossed it off the list, but no. Some things are worth stressing a little over.  I got the cards and envelopes made while we were in Maui, but then they needed to get written in…and mailed before we left.

To those I added 2 postcards made from photos I took in Maui that I really wanted to share with my writing buddies. I do put some of this stress on myself.



I committed to decorating a cake for Bea’s class at school for a celebration, and that turned out to be a bit more of a project than I bargained for, but again, it’s one of those things that’s worth a little stress. I have to keep up my Gaga creds, after all. The timing couldn’t have been worse, but again, out of my control. It had to happen.

Before I knew it, it was time to leave for the Galapagos (with a side trip to Universal Studios to roller coaster ourselves silly!) for an action-packed 2 weeks, and finally home. I slept for 12 hours the night we got home!


Waiting for me were about 100 (give or take) pieces of mail from NLWM that need to be answered, an Easter tree that needed to get taken down and changed over to just a spring tree (unless I get lazy and just shift right into 4th of July -nah, I don’t think I can let myself do that,) and a bunch of unpacking and putting away.

Now Hannah has a report she needs to do about her trip, and she’ll need a little help with that. And as if I wasn’t crazy enough, all these pictures need to be whittled down (we took them on 4 different cameras! Heeheehee!) and loaded onto the computer. What are the chances they’ll make it into a scrapbook? Jeez, I don’t even have the photos from CUBA sorted yet, let alone the blog posts I promised about THAT trip.

Then there’s finishing touches to be put on the Africa trip (we went to the doctor for our malaria meds today!) and trying to figure out what we’ll be doing for our fall trip next year – the Euro downturn has convinced us we probably need to schedule a European vacation for fall of 2018 and shift China to the 2019. Yeah, first world problems…

And those are just the BIG things – add in all the little stuff and day to day operations… I’m exhausting myself just thinking about it.

The bottom line is, I’m crazy nuts, and loving ALMOST every minute of it!



Day #11 GBII – Battoning Down The Hatches

By looking at the gorgeous sky today, you’d never know that there is a “once in a decade” storm looming out over the Pacific.




We’ve been told to expect 3-5 inches of rain from Saturday afternoon through Monday – a lot for us. Since we’ve just come off of several days of rain, our heavy clay soil is already full, and the new rains may well lead to widespread flooding, even in areas that don’t normally flood. Fortunately, we’re pretty high up the hill, so we should be okay if we don’t blow away!

I’m not going to complain. This drought has been rough, and if we can get our lakes filled back up, it will a GREAT thing! And it will all run down the driveway, so there’s that!

I’ve used the day today to go to the grocery store and make sure I have what I need for my weekend projects.

Tomorrow morning I’ll bring in chair covers and cushions and lay down the stuff that is prone to blowing over in the wind.

Then we’ll plan on spending the rest of the weekend snug as a a couple of bugs in a rug, and hopefully I’ll be doing lots of crafting of some sort, while we listen to the liquid gold pouring out of the heavens! If I get REALLY motivated, I may even get some cleaning done (okay, even I am thinking that’s a non-starter! heeheehee!) Sometimes the yuckiest days outside lead to the most productive inside! One way or the other – productive or slug – I don’t want to leave the house unless I have no other choice!

***a note on the scarf front: My daughter informed me she is NOT scarfed out, and although she doesn’t want to take scarves away from homeless people, she’d like a couple more! I think I can arrange that!

***and a note on the “completing projects” front, a friend suggested setting a fake deadline, and I thought that would be worth a try. So, Fake deadline #1 – finish Lexi’s scarf by Sunday night. Heeheehee! It’s done except for the fringe, so that should be doable! Baby steps, right?

Day #5 GBII Checking in With the Travel Wall

While I was in a decorating mood over the holidays I made some additions to the travel wall – added a few more papers, a bunch more photos, a few new words, and (drum roll, please……..) a new piece of furniture.

There’s a shop nearby called Rodworks that carries a pretty eclectic selection of furniture and gifts. I found this set of drawers that just screamed “JANET!!!” at the top of its lungs. I tried to resist. Really I did. For two weeks I thought about it, and finally, a few weeks before Christmas, I gave in.

But let’s start with the wall itself.

And a disclaimer – the photos don’t do it justice! I’ve tried and tried, but I can’t seem to get good lighting in this area of the house, so you’ll have to use your imagination a bit, and trust me when I tell you it looks really cool, even in its unfinished state.

And of course, it is MEANT to be unfinished. When it’s done, it will mean we are through traveling, and I’m hoping that won’t be for a long time! Or, I guess I could run out of room (wouldn’t that be fun!) and then I guess I’ll have to rotate photos in and out (or use eminent domain to confiscate wall space!)








Note that I’ve added more location words from my friend Colleen Attara. I know it’s a “cluttered” wall, but I think the words help break up the monotony of just photos. And really, unless I had a whole museum to hang the photos in, squishing them together (and TRYING to hang only one photo from each location) is my only option!

I have more “words” than are on the wall…I probably jumped the gun by ordering “Asia” and “Africa” since we haven’t been there yet. I hope I haven’t jinxed myself!


And I haven’t printed the photo for Paris or Cuba yet, so I have the words, but am unsure what I’m doing yet, so those will stay off the wall until I know where I’m putting them. I have one photo from Chile on the wall, but I want to add a second, so I’m waiting on it, as well.



So back to the cabinet… I think it may be my favorite of all time. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!



Day #4 GBII – Moving On – Next Up, Valentine’s Day!

It takes me awhile to make changes, and when I really love what was there before, it’s even harder.

So, making the decision to take Christmas down was not an easy one. I knew it needed to be done, but I wanted to keep it up. Really bad. And since I’ve been known to leave them up through January, I knew I could get away with it.

Then, unexpectedly, the granddaughters were over for the day, so since I had some help, I figured it was as good of a time to get started as any. They were a lot of help, and although we didn’t come even close to getting it done, we made a good dent.

It was more fun than I thought it would be, because I used it as a chance to tell family stories through the ornaments, and pass down some family values. I showed them some of the ornaments I’d made back in the days when when I did craft shows, and their mother’s 1st Christmas ornament (given to her by HER Grandmother) that our dog chewed up, but is still on the tree every year because it is so special. I found the felt teddy bear ornament their mother had made for me when she was about Bea’s age. It is misshapen, and the stitching is messy, but it is over 30 years old, and I still love it because SHE made it. Sometimes they worry that their imperfect gifts to us aren’t good enough, and this special ornament was proof we aren’t kidding when we tell them how much we love their handmade gifts.

They also saw the few ornaments I have that belonged to MY mom, and the ones we get every year and personalize with all our Grandchildren’s names on them, starting with the first ones that only had Gaga, Da and Hannah, then the addition of Bea and Josh in 2008, and the last 2 that include Lexi. It was such a nice trip down memory lane, and hopefully if we do that every year, they’ll remember the stories that go with the ornaments they’ll inherit!

But, the point of this post is moving on!

As a part of taking down the Christmas ornaments, we shifted the front tree to Valentine’s Day.

It’s my skinny tree that normally houses my shabby chic ornaments. Many of them are suitable to stay for Valentine’s Day – the gold and silver hearts and round balls, the garland… Then we pulled the hearts from the main tree (glass, wood, and metal) and a few strands of the red beaded garland, and added them.

I have a few things I keep just for the Valentine tree – the king and queen of hearts, some glitter heart ornaments, a glitter arrow, big sparkly heart and glitter heart picks. Switch out the gold lame skirt for glittery red, and there you have it! An excuse to leave one tree up  A beautiful Valentine decoration! It’s not quite as stuffed as I’d like to see it, but, as always, it’s a journey.












And for the first time in several years, I’m going to do Valentine’s decorations on top of the library case where the angels were. Guess that’s the good part about not going on a January trip – more decorating gets done. Hmmmmmm. Decorating or traveling? I may need to rethink this…

It’ll take me a few days to get everything down, and probably another few to restore the house to its normal decor.

I’m almost excited to do it, because I’ll be putting the Rooster/chicken display up on the entertainment center with the new topper. It should be much easier, I should have much more flexibility, and I MAY have a couple of new chickens to add into the mix (you find such cool stuff when you don’t get into your decorating cupboards for awhile!) I found a couple of older things I forgot I had because I didn’t put them back up after Christmas last year (or was it the year before?)

Anyway, I’m moving on, and I like it. I’ll share as I make progress!


When Life Gets In The Way of Your Blog…

When Life Gets In The Way of Your Blog…

I know, silly, huh? But it IS!

And all I can do is laugh!

I LOVE blogging. I really do. I love photography, I love documenting what’s going on in my life, I love to write, I love sharing what limited insight I have into life, I love sharing my art… Throw them altogether and you have a blog! Right?

But what happens when you’re so busy living, you have no time (or maybe energy?) to document?

Your blog suffers, that’s what!

I appreciate y’all hanging in there with me.

So, I’ve set a new record (or hit a new low, depending on how you look at it.) This is the longest number of days I’ve EVER gone without posting to my blog.

I think about you all frequently, and sometimes I even think, gee, that would make a great post, but somehow it just doesn’t get done.

Last we met, I’d returned from Rancho La Puerta, basking in the glory of what I’d hoped would be a new outlook on myself and the world, but alas, it was not to be. Seven days is not long enough to establish habits, and before long, I’d gone back to my old ways – not taking enough time to nourish my soul, over-booking my time, eating inappropriately, not getting enough sleep… all those nasty little habits that really are self-inflicted wounds, back to the forefront.

I was disappointed in myself. But it was easier to avoid thinking about what I was doing if I wasn’t being introspective like I am when I’m blogging. No blog, no personal analysis. And besides, I was really busy, or so I told myself.

Then came preparations for our trip to Cuba, followed by the trip and scads of material for blog posts, but my computer was on photo overload, so until I got some of the older ones off, I couldn’t put more on. I let myself get stuck with the notion that I just couldn’t move on. Documenting the trip HAD to be next thing I posted about (I think it was a game I was playing with myself to get me to work on the photo issue, but it obviously didn’t work!)

Then came my total immersion in the elections, the subsequent depression, then Christmas. It’s been one thing after another, and before I knew it, months of inactivity here.

Now the question is, do I get back into it, or let it die a natural death?

I know the answer.  So. Back to it – starting with what my friend calls a “peace break” from the ranch.




Homemade Tortillas

One of the many things I learned at Rancho La Puerta is that I LOVE homemade corn tortillas!

So, how to get them at home? Well, make them myself, of course!

I did a little internet research and determined that I needed a tortilla press. I really didn’t want to run around town looking for them, so I hit Amazon. After reading lots of reviews, including some great tips for making tortillas, the order for the press was placed (and courtesy of Amazon Prime, it came with free next day delivery) along with a box of Bob’s Mills masa harina and a recipe.

Tada! The next day I had everything I needed.



First up, make the dough according to package instructions. Super easy:

2 cups of masa harina

1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 – 2 cups hot water

Mix it all up, and let rest for 1 hour.


Then make little 2 inch balls of dough, to put on the press. One little trick I read was to cover the press with sheets of plastic wrap before pressing the dough.


Oh, and don’t put the ball on the exact middle of the press. Put it back just a little, so that when the press is squeezed shut, the dough will be more evenly dispersed. When you open the press, peel the plastic off one side of the tortilla, then the other. DON’T pull the tortilla off the plastic or it will just fall apart.

Then cook them on a cast iron griddle, or skillet for just a minute or two on each side.


Before you know it, you have a lovely basket of delicious tortillas! It’s super easy and they are delicious!


A few home made pinto beans, a little pico de gallo…Yum.

Through a Tattered Lens – Rancho La Puerta

I ALMOST didn’t take my big camera with me to Rancho La Puerta. It’s a lot to lug around, and, to be honest, I just didn’t think there would be all that much for me to photograph. But Andra’s friend and co-worker (who told us about the ranch) said there are sometimes photography classes, so I went ahead and packed it. Reluctantly.

So much for my preconceived ideas! Turns out there were no photography classes, but TONS to photograph. I was VERY glad I reconsidered.

One of the more interesting (at least to me!) things that noticed was that I tend to look for perfection to document, so I forced myself to SEE and photograph imperfect things, like flowers with bug bites on the petals, or wilted blossoms… After all, none of us are perfect, but we deserve to be noticed and our lives documented, right?









As usual, I photographed some off the wall stuff. And in the spirit of being in the moment and doing a lot of reflecting, I noticed even more than usual – the way the light falls on the same object at different times of day, shadows falling on sidewalks, the sun through the trees, looking at things from different vantage points.

So, I hope you enjoy my little stroll around the grounds and a few of my favorite photos.














Love how the camera picked up the water droplets from the sprinklers!





LOTS of pics of the sun through the trees, to the point of obsession. Who? Me?







…and my favorite…


My last photo isn’t so much a tattered one, as a sad one…the last bowl of Mexican mangoes. They have to be dipped in boiling water before they come into the United States, and it just KILLS the flavor. Man they were good!


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