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Hannah’s Big Adventure (part two)

When we were planning the trip we put a lot of thought into whether to fly coach or business class on the long leg of the trip. Domestically we almost always fly a bargain carrier. But when we fly long distances, we almost always fly business class so we have the opportunity to rest and not lose time when we reach our destination. We are cranky travelers, and the times we’ve flown coach, we’ve lost a day or two of our trip recovering. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! Heeheehee!) But Mr. Tattered was concerned about totally spoiling the child. She said, “But, Da, if we fly business class I will get a taste of what I can have if I work hard in school and get a good job!” How can you argue with THAT kind of logic?

So business class it was. She took to it like a duck to water!

We woke up just in time to land in Quito, Ecuador.

Da had booked a tour guide to show us the highlights of the city. We had a great day going on the tram to the top of the mountain,

followed by a drive around the area, a stop at his favorite place to get empanadas and ice cream, to the crater of **** volcano

and to the museum at the equator. All along the way our guide told little stories about the city, educated us about the flora and fauna, and taught us a little Spanish.

 

 

We crammed a lot into one day!

The next morning we hit the airport again to head to Baltra and the beginning of our Galapagos adventure.

As you’ll remember, Mr. Tattered and I had been to the Galapagos before. But most of the stops on this trip were not duplicates, so we were looking forward, not only to seeing the islands through Hannah’s eyes, but to seeing some new things ourselves.

Day one was spent getting moved into our new digs, our home away from home for the next six days, on the “Silver Galapagos,”

familiarizing ourselves with the ship, attending a safety briefing, and learning the ropes of the buffet. (Which I might mention, was pretty impressive for a small ship.) Where our first trip to the Galapagos was pretty primitive, this was quite a bit more luxurious. I felt a tad bit guilty about enjoying the luxury, but what can I say? Mr. Tattered didn’t want to “rough it” again, and who am I to question his judgement? Heeheehee! We were off to a good start.

The section of the Galapagos we were about to see is called the North Central area, and encompasses the islands of Genovessa, Seymour Norte, Santiago, Santa Cruz, Española, and San Cristóbal.

I have spent many hours whittling down photos from about 3,000 to just over 700. I’ll save the ones that didn’t make the cut on the original camera cards, but they just can’t be on the computer or in scrapbooks. Before I print them, I’ll attempt to thin them even more. Sometimes when I let a few months go by, it gets a little easier. You would think that once you’ve seen one blue-footed boobie, you’ve seen them all, but each photo captures them just a little differently.

How I’m going to decide which ones to show you is beyond me. So I guess I’ll just jump in and make a selection that tells the story, and we’ll see what happens!

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Hannah decked out and ready to explore!

 

The Zodiac was our mode of travel to and from the ship.

Red-footed Boobies

A species we didn’t see last time and didn’t even know existed!

 

Nazca Boobies

 

Our favorite, Blue-footed Boobies

Mating ritual

 

Photographing the Sally Lightfoot Crabs (love them!)

 

 

A Frigate with his wares on display!

One of many beautiful sunsets

Land iguana

Small marine iguana

They like to huddle for warmth.

Photographing is fun because the animals have no fear of humans

Albatross – Hannah got an eyeful of THEIR mating habits!

At the fish market, the critters hang out waiting for scraps!

Swimming with the sea lions!

 

The sea lions pretty much own the place!

Lots of nursing pups

And, finally, the tortoises

 

Playing with a shell…

…and her best turtle face!

All too soon, it was time to head back to civilization…

Hope you enjoyed our little tour! If the Galapagos are not on your bucket list, you might want to add it. It is a unique experience, and we’ve just touched on the highpoints – WAAAAAAY more to see!

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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!

 

 

I’m Lucky and I Know It

I hardly know where to start on this one.

You know how much I LOVE to travel. There are very few places in the world I WOULDN’T want to go (any?) and my list of places I hear about that I definitely want to go just keeps growing.

Fortunately, Mr. Tattered is not only willing to go along with most of my crazy ideas, but he does the vast majority of the work required to make each and every trip “the trip of a lifetime.”

I spent a few hours today sorting photos from the Italy leg of our 2014 trip. 1900+ photos of extreme wonderfulness. Fortunately, Costco did an EXCELLENT job (this time) of keeping the photos in consecutive order, something that doesn’t happen with every purchase. It made a job that could have taken weeks go by pretty quickly.

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It will still be a big job getting them into albums, but this was the part I was dreading. I would much rather be doing the documenting than the planning!

While I was doing that, Mr. Tattered was going over the final plans for our fall trip to Africa and Amsterdam. He has spent hours and hours and hours researching tour companies, hotels, transportation options, and activities, and today was finally ready to make the reservations and make deposits.

There is so much to it, making sure we can get from place to place, finding places to stay, and deciding on activities. I would NEVER have the patience or the attention to detail to do it.

You may be wondering why Africa and Amsterdam! I know, it seems like an odd combination.

It’s not easy to get to Africa. No matter how you end up doing it, there are challenges.

We were in Amsterdam in 2014, and really liked it, hoping to get back someday. And as luck would have it, there are many flights from Amsterdam to Africa and back. So, it seemed like a good way to do both.

We’ll fly into Amsterdam and stay for a couple of days to acclimate to the time change. Then on the way back we’ll stay for another 4 days to get in some sight-seeing. Last time we couldn’t get in to the Anne Frank House because it books up a long time in advance, so we’ll go there, then I’d also like to go out into the countryside on a day tour to see the windmills. And of course there will be some maple waffles…I can STILL taste them!

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But Africa is the main attraction and he’s come up with a spectacular itinerary, starting with a visit to Rwanda to go “gorilla-trekking” where we’ll see two different silver back gorilla families. From there we go to Tanzania where we’ll see some beautiful scenery along with the animals we’ve only seen on t.v and in the zoo. There will be numerous days spent out “on safari,” but with a little touch of luxury. Kinda like “glamping” in the wilds of Africa. It sounds amazing, and I have to tell you, of all the trips we’ve taken, this is the one I’m most looking forward to.

So, yeah. I’m a lucky girl, and I know it!

 

Day #18 GBII – I Really DO Know Better

I make a conscience effort to stay off of Pinterest. I really do. I know what a time suck it is, and I know it only makes me spend time thinking about things I want, rather than encouraging me to enjoy what I have.

So why do I keep coming back to it?

Today, I think it’s because I need a distraction – something that will hold my attention, keep me from thinking about things I don’t want to think about, things that threaten my sense of well-being.

Lexi and I played school this morning. She should be at preschool, but she’s sick. Not “down” sick, but “contagious” sick, the kind where she has a lot of energy, but shouldn’t be out in the world. So, I was glad her “fridge phonics” arrived – something new to hold her interest. You put a letter in the base, and press it, then it says what the letter is and what it says.

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She really likes it. And she liked doing it with me, for awhile. Then she informed me, “I can do it myself. You should go do something else.” Okay. Pretty clear. (She’s not even three, yet.)

So I worked on my knitting for awhile, but my mind kept wandering back to the stuff I didn’t want to think about. I needed to be more engaged. So, I checked back in with Lexi. She was ready to move onto writing her letters in her erasable workbook, another activity I was invited not to participate in.

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So. A couple of games of solitaire later, and I found myself typing Pinterest.com into the address bar. I know better. Really, I do.

Who knew it was TRAVEL DAY on Pinterest?

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I KNEW this was a bad idea (as I begin packing in my mind…)

Lexi? Will you play with me? No, Gaga, I’m reading. Can I read to you? No, I’m reading to myself…

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!)

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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!

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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.

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

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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?

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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.

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

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

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…and my favorite…

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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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Hiking the Ranch

One of the things Rancho La Puerta is known for is its sunrise hikes. Since it can get quite warm in Mexico, it’s best to start out before dawn, so as to get back before it gets too warm. Or maybe because it’s just a great way to start the day, who knows.

But me and sunrise? Seldom are those two words uttered in the same sentence. Usually, the only way I’ll see a sunrise is if I didn’t go to bed until then!

In an effort to get all of the experiences at the ranch I could get, I wanted to try. That meant going to bed early and getting up WAAAAAY early. Like 5:30am early. Like dark outside early.

The first morning I opted to go on what I thought would be the easy hike, since it was only 2 miles and the next up was 3.3. Little did I know that 0ne of those two miles would be like mountain goat steep. It was called Alex’s Oak. I could see it way up there in the distance the day before, but I was game to try.

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It started with a glorious sunrise. There have to be some rewards to getting up that early, and this was it.

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I’m not going to say it was easy. It most definitely was not, but it wasn’t the kind of hard that made you say “what the hell was I thinking?”  It wasn’t pretty. And I was slow. And the “shepherd,” the one tasked with making sure the slow pokes got back alive, must have thought my lungs were going to explode as I sucked air on all the sharp uphills. But I made it, and the success gave me the confidence to think I could do a longer one.

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Andra did a harder one, and found it to be a piece of cake. (I hated her for a minute.) Not really, she’s a stud, and I’m proud of her. I shouldn’t compare. After all, I’m old. Okay, well, there were people older than me on the harder one. I have no excuse.

The next day, I opted for the next longer hike (the Professor) and although it was longer, I actually found it to be easier – the incline was more gradual, and it actually went right by Alex’s Oak, so I could have saved myself the trauma of the day before, but who knew? Again, I was slow as molasses, and it wasn’t pretty, but like the day before, I made it, and, in truth, I lapped everyone who opted to stay in bed!

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Shaman’s sculpture in the distance…

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…and yep, I made it! Whew!

And, once again, Andra did a harder one. She was building up to the 7 mile, which I KNEW would be over MY head! In fact, having accomplished the professor, I chose to retire my hiking boots and stick with the “walks” from there on out.

I still got up early, but stayed on the lower trails, woodland and quail, and added to them the Labyrinth, which turned out to be one of my favorites. The slow, meditative walk was just what I needed. Getting in 10k steps before breakfast was fun in a sick sort of way.

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Andra did her 7 mile breakfast hike on Thursday.

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Then on Friday we got up even earlier than usual to do the 2 mile hike out to the organic farm for a tour and breakfast, then back 2 miles. This last one was easier, not as much uphill, and I was able to do a much better job of keeping up! I’d like to think I increased my endurance, so we’ll just go with that!

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Believe it or not, this is one of the things I will miss most about the ranch. I like to hike, but it just isn’t practical to leave early enough in the morning to get to a place to do it at home, at least not on a daily basis. It will need to be saved for the weekend, and I’m guessing, a little later in the day.

Goodbye, sunrises…I really will miss you.

 

 

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