Monday, September 6, 2010


I took this photograph in January 2009 on the Floating Reed Islands of the highest altitude lake on the planet, Lake Titicaca. We were on our way to the island of Amantani (pronounced a-mon-ton-ni) which is not a reed island but a very steep sloped mountain on the lake. I took thousands of photos on this trip, but this one really struck me. It's funny how it came about it. Let me share the story.

We boarded a boat from Puno on our way to Amantani island. On the way we made several stops to places I never imagined existed. The floating reed islands were our first stop. We stepped off onto the soft surface where the Quechua people demonstrated how the islands are made and maintained, we played soccer with the kids on the reeds and we even ate reeds. They made really solid boats out of reeds, and for 5 soles, they would give you a ride on one. Feeling the effects of altitude, I didn't feel up to going for the ride, so I stayed back. The women sang a beautiful song to those drifting away on the boat. I can't remember the song today, but I remember how I felt and I felt moved. Had I been on top of my game, I may not have shot this photo.

We then got back on the regular motorized boat and stopped at the empty looking island of Taquile (pronounced ta-kee-yay) where the people wore hats to symbloize their relationship status. When we docked the boat, there was not a soul around. We hiked up the hills and still no one. Some of us went ahead, so we waitied on a rock for the others. A man with a bull came strolling around the bend. He was wearing an interesting hat which we learned later meant he was married. We said hello in his language and he smiled a joyful toothless grin. I think less than 100 people inhabited this island. It was so quiet. This island is where they made the most beautiful and skilled crafts that you can find in all of Peru. I bought my alpaca wool ear warmer here. They were such great hosts. They demonstrated their traditional dances and an excited woman pulled me up to dance with her. Love is what these people were about. The views from this island were breathtaking. I have to share more photos. They took us up to their restaurant which was at the highest peak and we could look out onto the lake. They cooked us a delicious lunch with all the coca tea and bread we could ask for. I wish I were there now. To be continued...

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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Pare Down

One more week left at work and it feels strange. I have never worked somewhere so long. Three years and two months. I guess at my young age, that's pretty good considering I've had many jobs and they were all so very different. You would think that I would have cleared out my personal items by now, but I haven't even started.  I'm creating a map poster that will be submitted for a regional award competition in October for our organization and it has to be completed very soon. Next year it's supposed to be submitted at the ESRI International User Conference in San Diego which I've attended three years in a row. The subject is of remotely sensed oak trees, and I don't think that has ever been done before. So if you see it, it's probably mine/ours. Chances are I will not be there to see my glorious submission at the Map Gallery in 2011. I hope some of my friends will send a photo of it to me.

If you think well, if she hasn't cleared out her personal items at work, then I wonder what her home looks like. Yeah, not much has changed. I've got a stack of boxes full and empty, and I feel like I haven't even made a dent. I found some old t-shirts that I used to wear when I was a kid. Seriously, like from when I was 8 years old. I was so attached. One is my t-shirt from Quebec that a family friend brought back for me with a waterskiing bunny rabbit on it and the other is my worn out blue gymnastics t-shirt. I think I should put them on, have a farewell photo shoot and donate them to another kid. Which one of my photographically talented friends wants to volunteer in my farewell? Thank you for reading!


In this digital age, we are finding solutions to our problems of resource consumption. It seems we've solved the problem of using less paper by creating and using digital files. But what are the consequences to the products we are developing? Are we depending more and more on other resources, such as oil, to drive our more "green" ways.  What resources are we depleting to accomplish this goal? Are all these new gadgets necessary? Are these products being developed to improve our quality of life, or are they just a tool to keep us slave to this consumer driven society? I find myself asking "Is all of this progress?"

I know, too heavy for Mon Amie Kelly. But I can't help but wonder. Since I'm in the market for a new computer because my current one is taking a ....  I'm trying to make the most conscious decisions. It's hard to stay focused on what I truly need and what the market is telling me I need. The new hot item right now, E-readers and iPads. They are supposed to improve the way we... read? Don't know about you, but I will be really sad when books cease to exist, it reminds me of one of the greatest books I've ever read, "Fahrenheit 451," will we begin to burn them to make space for our plastic gadgets and giant screens?

Thank you for reading my thoughts, as I return to the online shops. ;-)