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Peruvian Street – 15″ x 16 3/4″ on 140 lb Arches cold press

So the world didn’t end on May 21st.  Good thing too.  The Husband and I were sitting at Kennedy Airport  waiting for our flight to Northern California when…nothing happened.  I like when nothing happens.  I don’t like change and the end of the world would have been way too much change for me.

The trip to Northern California/Lake Tahoe was pretty incredible considering it was boiling hot in NYC and it snowed two of the days we were away.  If you like to ski, this would have been the place for you.  We do not ski…however we biked, hiked, swam and drove around the lake 37 times.  We visited Carson City and Virginia City, Nevada and got stuck in near white-out conditions going over the Mt. Rose pass which goes to 8,900 feet.  The Husband wasn’t nervous but I was.  I asked him if he could see with the blinding snow and he told me the only thing blinding him was my white knuckles reflecting in the windshield.   He is so very amusing.

Did you know Virginia City is haunted???   I didn’t until we kept hearing stories about people visiting and seeing ghosts.  This is NOT for me.  Apparently it is for The Husband.  Geez, you think you know someone after a bazillion years.  He said he would love to stay at the Silver Queen in Virginia City.  I said he’d be staying there alone.

http://www.ghoststudy.com/new2/vc.html

http://www.ghostvillage.com/encounters/2008/09102008.shtml

http://www.ghost-trackers.org/haunted_virginia_city.html

The painting at the top is the finished version of the empty Peruvian Street.  I decided I wasn’t going to put people in after all. I like the idea of a nice quiet street and have decided they are all taking a siesta.   It’s much darker in the bottom left corner, but couldn’t get the photo quite right.    

Street in Cusco, Peru – sketch

What’s HGTV you ask?  It’s a horrid channel that sucks me in and makes me waste hours and hours of time all the while incredulous at how they are able to do home makeovers for under $2,000 or how 20 somethings house hunt and every 4,000 square foot house they see isn’t big enough.

Makes me want to gag.

I live in an old building.  Ok, maybe not old by Europe’s standards, but old by US standards. Almost 100 years old. (The building, not me.) Nothing is square, plumb or level.  I have lived in the same 950 sq. ft. apartment for 22 years. One bathroom.  Small kitchen.   Me, the Husband and a large dog.  (Not the same dog.)  Change a light fixture?  Takes about 20 years and 3 tries.  One by the Husband, one by the Brother who does not read my blog and one by the Emergency Electrician who had to be called when sparks shot out of the ceiling and we tripped the circuit breaker, not just for my apartment, but for the whole building.

So how do these people on HGTV come in and redo a whole house in 3 days and under $2,000?  One of the mysteries of life I suppose.

Another mystery is will I ever get my sketchbook finished.  It’s due in less than a week and I’m not done.  Here’s a sketch I did of one of the Cusco streets with its unending steps.   I bet none of these buildings has had a makeover in hundreds of years.

Maybe I’ll wait to redo my place too.

La Puerta, Peru 14  1/4″  x 10  1/4″ – Arches 140 lb coldpress

Do you ever wonder what’s behind the doors of homes you see in your travels? I kept hoping that someone would open this door and come out…so I could see inside.   There were a number of houses like this on road out of Cusco on our way to the death hike to Saqsaywaman.  Unfortunately no one came out and invited me in.  Bummer. I guess everyone was out in the main square trying to sell tourists Peruvian crap.

I frequently look into people’s homes when I’m walking the dog.   One can’t help it.  Windows and doors are right on the street so it’s easy to see in. There is a door down the block that I always hope will open as I pass.  Whenever Charlie and I are walking the dogs and we see someone coming in or out of the door we try to look in. We are convinced a family of hoarders live there.   There’s tons of stuff piled up in that hallway.

On another note, here is a picture of the scarf I finally completed for my sister.  I started it in JFK waiting for the flight to Lima, Peru.   I finished it shortly after returning from Peru, but it kept curling at the edges so I had to block it.  Never having blocked a knitted piece before, I searched the interwebs and found a few options.  Here’s a picture of it while it was damp and pinned down waiting to dry. That didn’t work.  It still curled.

The technique that finally worked was pressing and steaming it.  It finally was flat, but unfortunately it was now about 11 feet long.

Sigh.

I gave it to her anyway and she loved it.  But the first day she had it she wore it to an Indian restaurant and got some sauce on it.   It now has to be washed.  I don’t know, but I suspect it will then have to be blocked again.  I’m guessing it will soon be 24 feet long.

I told my sister I would make her another one.

Visiting Machu Piccu and Cusco was like going to a step aerobics class that never ended.  Step, step, step, suck in as much air as possible,  step!   Boy, those Incas sure liked steps!

We were walking up the steps to Sacsaywaman when we saw this woman descending with her posse.   It was a long hike up and I was convinced I wouldn’t make it.    But I did and it was worth it.

Often the women and young girls who live in the small mountain villages would dress up in these traditional Peruvian costumes and walk around with a llama and a lamb or puppy.  If you want to take a picture with them, of course you are expected to pay them.   Don’t pay them too little, or they will tell you!

I returned from a 10 day trip to Peru to find the work in my office piled to the rafters.   Ugh!  Whatever iota of relaxation I felt during those ten days left rather quickly.   But what won’t ever leave are the fabulous memories of Peru, Machu Picchu and the wonderful Peruvian people.

We flew into Lima, the capital of Peru and spent a couple of days wandering around this very interesting city.   It is on the ocean and has a beautiful coast and a fascinating historical center with wonderful colonial architecture.   We then flew to Cusco, high up in the Andes mountains.  At 11,200 feet you have to take it slowly the first day.  For those of you who may live in the mountains, this may not seem like a big deal, but for us sea level dwellers, we experienced shortness of breath and headache.  A few cups of coca tea (yes, THAT coca) put us right.

The second day in Cusco we climbed to Sacsaywaman, also known as Sacsayhuaman which almost killed me.  Damn, those Incas loved steps.   A fascinating tour with Mario, a local shaman had us up there for over four hours. It was exhausting but well worth the trip.

I won’t bore you with ALL the details of our trip, but will show you some pictures of the main attraction...Machu Picchu. This ancient Incan site was magical and amazing and fabulous.  Here are just a few of the 1400 + pictures we took:

And look at this….the tiredest pre-colombian Peruvian that ever lived:

Oh,  the platters on the very top are a couple I painted for some very special people.  Cousin Tommy and Chrissy for their 25th wedding anniversary and the other for a couple that just got married.  Since I haven’t given it to them yet, I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

No matter how much fun vacations are, it’s always good to be home, with friends and family and in this case, back at sea level.

I swear, I did NOT tag that whole wall.

A “decorated” wall in Lima, Peru down the stairs of the cliff to the beach.  It was fun walking down.  It was hard walking back up.

Just returning from a trip to Peru, I did a quick self – portrait wearing one of those goofy hats you can’t leave Peru without.   They look good in Cusco, and then you get home and say “what was I thinking?”   But more about Peru in another post, this post is all about the self-portrait challenge.

So here it is Linda.  Thank you for the challenge, it was an eye-opener.  I don’t think this looks much like me and if it did it would be a MUCH YOUNGER version. But hey,  It’s my self-portrait, I can perform a little surgery on my self if I want to.

If you want to see Linda’s as well as other’s self portraits, go to Linda’s blog: http://lindahalcombfineart.wordpress.com/

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