Getting Ready

There are times in my life when I know I am going in to a transition. Crisis is no longer a necessary ingredient in my life for me to change. It is the change in the flow of energy that sets me moving now.

Over the past several months the flow has been increasing in intensity. Each event had a color and it began to paint a picture. In recent months I have become more unsettled. I know it is time to begin something new.

There is nothing wrong with what I have. My two years here at Lake Atitlan have been some of the most wonderful of my life. It is just that beautiful can become so common that it begins to fade.

I am beginning to loose sight of the beauty here. It is a quiet process and it has changed my experience. I know that forty of you visit Uduzit regularly. I believe many of you do that so you can catch up on little things happening here at the Lake. I hope you keep coming back.

This past week I began a transition for my spending more time in Antigua. I had a wonderful visit there for several days this past week.

My visit changed many past impressions of the city I held from my days there as a language student. This visit I found there are so many special shops and great places hidden on the back streets that it will take months to explore.

I was able to spend quality time with new and old friends on this visit. It was a good “people” visit.

My friend Jeff showed me the neatest breakfast routine at the main market.

First stop was with the orange juice lady for a huge glass of fresh squeezed OJ. That was 5Q, or about $.65. Next stop was at this extraordinary bakery and coffee shop (La Posteria) just outside the entrance to the main Mercado. Coffee and three breakfast rolls cost about $1.30.

We gathered our goodies and headed to a small restaurant in the main market. The Mercado is a huge place and this restaurant is tucked back among a thousand stalls. Here we sat and ate beans, scrambled eggs, and feta cheese for 10Q ($1.30).

Jeff even brought some extra rolls for the ladies in the kitchen as a thank you for letting us bring in our own coffee and rolls. They smiled. They like Jeff.

An extraordinary breakfast for $3 was just the beginning of that wonderful day. We’ll continue with this adventure in the next post.

Smiles. ET

Published in: on September 13, 2008 at 8:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Winter at Lake Atitlan

Volcano view from Antigua

Volcano view from Antigua

I have lived in some places with lousy weather, like around the Great Lakes in the States. I moved to the Southwest and found Arizona was not the paradise I thought it would be. Lake Atitlan in Guatemala is Paradise compared to the other places I have lived.

In Arizona I spent a lot of money either trying to stay warm, or cool. Living in my motor home, I would work for the National Forest Service in the high mountains to escape the summer heat of the lower elevations.

I loved when my employers paid my utility bills. Staying warm, or cool, in the lower elevations cost big money!

In Guatemala my room has one glass window and one screened window. Both windows have wooden shutters. The walls are block and transfer daytime warmth into the room at night. When nights are chilly I burn a candle, or add a blanket.

Money spent on utility bills, is now money spent to buy candles. I could get fancy and purchase a tiffany oil lamp, but that produces a lot of heat for a small area. Oil lamps are great for atmosphere though.

Most nights I wear a sweater. My English friends don their jumpers. It is winter here. It is the Rainy Season.

At Lake Atitlan in the highlands of Guatemala, the temperatures moderate between 60 and 80 degrees throughout the year. Lake Atitlan is located in a volcanic caldron and a thousand feet below the surrounding highlands.

The Highlands of Guatemala have winter weather that sometimes includes snow. Summer temperatures are warm and have higher humidity in the Rainy Season.

If you wish the jungles and tropical weather, you can visit Tikal or the Livingston on the Caribbean. On the Pacific Coast this time of year, you will find black sands and more tropical weather.

Guatemala has about every climate you could wish to experience. We have old Spanish cities and modern cities here. It is a place well worth checking out!

Smiles. ET

Free Software Does It

Loading up the R51

It has been fun to get the IBM R51 laptop working smoothly. This has involved installing a lot of free software on my IBM R51 laptop that I purchased on eBay recently.

On Windows XP I set up two user accounts. One account, I use regularly for most everything, including the Internet. The other user account is my “quiet account.”

I talked recently about setting up my Windows wall of protection. That wall covers both user accounts. I keep the one account empty beyond my basic programs.

The programs in my “quiet” user account have been loaded with passwords and personal preferences. This account is on stand-by, and I seldom use it.

I run more “risky” traffic, like Internet browsers and file sharing, through my active user account. My anti-virus and firewall software watch all this activity for problems.

The quiet account becomes my desktop back-up for now. I am moving to a dual boot system where I use Windows XP and Ubuntu (Hardy Heron) on the system. When the installation disk arrives, that will be a new adventure to share.

I have loaded the following software on both of my user accounts.

Remember, this is all free software, not shareware or free trials. Enjoy!

I am using Real Player, Winamp, and iTunes to play and manage my music collection.

Picasa 2 and Irfan View handle my basic graphics needs. Adobe Reader, Foxit, and PDF Creator handle my PDF and ebook needs.

Power DVD and InterVideo Win DVD allow me to avoid Windows Media Player for video. I also run Nero 7 Ultra Edition.

This software is all very simple to install, and it is all free software! Windows XP Pro as your operating system does cost, but mine came with my laptop.

Many Adobe Programs, and PDF Creator, work only on the Windows platform. These are great programs that I use regularly and must have Windows to enjoy them.

Soon Ubuntu with provide my gateway to the Internet, and Windows will do my music and graphics. Graphics design is an area Open Source is still behind the curve on. They are catching up, but Windows leads that area for now.

And that is how I meet my computing software needs on Windows XP with free software. These are great programs. Give them a try!

Smiles. ET

Published in: on June 18, 2008 at 5:38 pm  Comments (2)  
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Fun Computer Days


I have noted in other posts, that bringing the Internet in to my home has really changed my daily routine. I am comfortable being home more, and have a wider variety of activities to fill my day.

I spend a great deal of time on the computer, but I do many different things. I am online and offline. I write, listen to music, watch movies, play games, and surf the Internet.

Most of my Internet time is spent doing research for software and my blog articles. I also spend much of my time online managing several email accounts and communicating with friends.

The IBM R51 has changed my days as well. I am back in a Windows environment again. I have had to go out and explore all the free software available for Windows. These are programs that are not available with Ubuntu.

I generally have about three programs for each area of computing I am active in. I have music players and DVD burners. I have graphics programs and word editing software.

Each activity involves its own programs and it adds up to a fascinating amount of software. I have also been gathering some software to explore the new activities I am interested in.

It has been enjoyable to read ebooks and to listen to audio books. I would like to make many of my ebooks in to audio experiences. I began my software search with several ebook readers, and have now found software that creates Text to Speech wave files.

It is possible to easily listen to my ebooks on my computer, or to change them in to files I can listen to on my iPod. I plan to be well read real soon.

Listening to an ebook is nice during the customary long waits for food at our local Guatemalan restaurants.

We wait for out food, but it is also nice that there is no rush to have you leave your table after your meal is finished. Our meals become quite leisurely. Then too, it is nice to have the iPod when no one stops by my table to visit.

That’s what’s happening here. Future posts will explore these ideas further as I more have more experience in each area. It is all good.

Smiles. ET

Published in: on June 14, 2008 at 5:27 pm  Comments (1)  
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Using Windows Live Writer with WordPress

Great free blog editor from Microsoft

This afternoon I have been playing with Windows Live Writer. I have seen that it integrates almost seamlessly with my WordPress blog. From the WLW side panel I can immediately connect to my blogs’ dashboard or manage pages. When I post, I see my draft first goes to the WordPress Editor before publishing.

In Windows Live Writer I can set categories, and insert links, pictures, and videos from the side panel controls. You can also set tags, maps, and tables in to your posts with WLW very simply.

Here is an example of how you can show a map for an event within your post. In this map you will find Guatemala right in the center, and that’s where this post was written.

Looking at Central America
Looking at Central America

The map insert is a fun feature. It can bring someone to your location quite simply with any map size you wish.

You can adjust the map size. Text adjust as you set the margins. You can choose to show the world, or the four street corners in your small town. You can even show a stickpin where you are standing. Try it and you will see how easy it is to get everything where you want it.

This gives you the ability to wrap text around pictures well. Simple insertion of pictures is another great feature of WLW. You can crop them as you post them, and then watch your text wrap neatly around the image. It is so easy.

Here is a link where you can see all the features of Windows Live Writer and download it for free. Yes, it is for free, and you can choose not to add all the extras Windows would like to install on your system along with Windows Live Writer.

It was a fast download and the program installed easily. I entered my WordPress blog name and it gathered all the information it needed. WLW now has a nice catalog of all my past posts and I will see how it organizes them. I am starting to accumulate a lot of published posts, and I would like to find a simple way to organize them.

Windows Live Writer will work seamlessly with Your WordPress blog, and many other blogging platforms as well.

WLW has one other feature that will surely charm you. It stores your WordPress theme information. When you go to the task bar and choose “View,” you can then choose “Web Layout.”

From the Web Layout window you can see your post appear on your blog theme as you write it. You can see what you have instantly. The feature saves me a lot of time. I don’t have to switch pages constantly while saving changes in the WordPress Editor.

Windows Live Writer can be a great add-on for your WordPress blogging experience. I hope you try it out.

Smiles. ET