Meat, Yarn and a Downed Tree; or, life in the California foothills

A week in the life of a mountain small town – WOOHOO!

Living in a small mountain town has its quirks, drawbacks, and bonuses. Take shopping, for instance. We have a fairly comprehensive shop in town where you can get most of your groceries – but at a cost. It’s hard to compete with Wal-Mart, even when it’s 30+ miles from home. Seriously. And going anywhere with amenities is at least 10 miles. But I live here…

So when your local shop has an annual meat sale, you go, you stand in lines, chat with everyone else who’s waiting, and walk out with a full grocery cart and an empty bank account. Thank goodness for the stimulus checks!

And the excitement doesn’t stop there!😆 Even though I have enough yarn stashed away to open a small shop, there’s always room for more, especially when it’s a fun, thick yarn, such as Lion Brand Go For Faux Thick And Quick yarn. I purchased four skeins and was able to half double crochet my daughter a scarf in about one hour. It was much appreciated.

Of course, I have a more long-term knit project going on. With Christmas sales on hold until October, I am working on another fingering weight pullover. Presenting Purl Soho’s Ribbed Raglan Pullover in Sweetgrass Beech Bark colorway. I started this about two weeks ago and I’m still on the yoke!

On my lunch break.

I’ll be updating on the progress of this sucker for about a year! Seriously, I’m shooting for about two more months. We shall see…

On a final note, there’s nothing like getting up at 5 A.M. to drive your friend 50 miles for an early surgical procedure, and one of the little roads you take has a big tree lying across it. We still made it on time because she caught a ride from her husband before he went to work (he doesn’t have paid time off; ergo, my timely intervention) where she was dropped off on the other side of the blockage! One person just muscled their way around the limbs (see pic), but I didn’t want to chance scratching up my paint.

As it went, when we were leaving, one of the stranded motorists just happened to have a freaking chainsaw in their car and was gassing it up as we walked by. Imagine that!

As I’m sitting here in my car, waiting for the procedure to be over for my friend, I’m thinking this post feels more like a diary entry than compelling reading, but I hope you enjoyed it anyway.

Until next time, dear readers!

A Job, A Bridge, and An Awkward Exit

When you’ve had a busy week at a new job, what’s better than leaving in ignominy?

I got a job – yay! As usual, the night before I have any big event the next day, I got no sleep at all. I was tired and miserable, but when I showed up, I was shocked when a great friend of mine, Diana, walked out to greet me. It was such a wonderful surprise. In fact, she is my cube mate – whee! This set the whole tone for the day, and I felt a lot less apprehensive. Remember, you guys, it’s been about five years that I’ve had a job where I punch a timecard. I was nervous. The work seems doable and versatile, the natives are friendly, and hopefully all goes well. It’s been only 3 days, so time will tell.

Brilliant friend!

In the interim, I have found a surprising sanctuary close to my work; a nature preserve that’s also a little park that is perfect for a light repast and a little knitting. There’s also a walking path if you want to move around a bit. I’m actually looking forward to spending my lunches there!

And guess who finally discovered Yankee Jims Bridge? I’ve only lived in this area for eight years and have heard of this place forever, but I didn’t make it there until last week. I’ve been twice since – it’s beautiful, and because it’s winter and the middle of the week, I’ve got the place to myself. It’s very relaxing, listening to the water rushing over the rocks. The white noise can easily put you into a contemplative mood.

Like the title says, it’s a quick 2-second clip.

So what better way to end this post? Let’s go back to work. Imagine a happy Glenda, saying her good-byes to everyone in the office at the end of the day. Smart-ass remarks like “It was real, it was fun” leaving my lips and smiles all around. As I was pushing out the door, loaded down with my lunch box, purse, sweater, and reading materials, my precariously perched seltzer water beverage decided to succumb to gravity…all over the floor. And what better time to exclaim “FUCK!” as I watched the can tumble from my overloaded arms. I cleaned it up within minutes, but was so embarrassed. I slunk away when all was done, thinking this was a crappy denouement to my work week – LOL!

Until next time, dear readers.

Interview etiquette; or, don’t wear that silly mask!

What happens when you’re looking for work and don’t think about face mask etiquette!

As Heraclitus once said, “Everything changes but change itself.” He may have been on to something there. These last few weeks have been full of change, most of it unwelcome.

Some, though necessary, were good. I bid an early adieu to my Jeep and got a Subaru. Still good in snowy conditions and unpaved, bumpy roads, but way easier on the gas and payments. I must admit, though, that I miss the Jeep wave! And since finding a hair cutter still doing business right now is impossible, I just gathered my hair in a ponytail, grabbed my shears and cut it off. I like it!

One change I’ve made that has been overdue is looking for a proper job; the kind that challenges a person, is multi-faceted and you look forward to doing. One thing I didn’t I think of regarding interviews and COVID is the mask. So…guess who showed up at an interview for a job that crossed off all the boxes wearing this:

Great first impression!

Funny enough, I’m going in for a second interview next week. Maybe it doesn’t matter about the mask? I think I will wear a more subdued design next time to be on the safe side!

I haven’t forgotten about my knitting and crocheting even though I may not be making too much mention of them in my posts! I’ve been continuing to make beanies and selling them at a local taco spot, Homie Joes. With global warming affecting the length and timing of winter, it’s been fairly spotty. A good week is when I sell three *shrug*. It might be the venue. People are coming in for a delicious takeaway lunch or dinner, not a fabulous beanie!

Speaking of fabulous beanies, I love the silhouette style I have seen on social media feeds and thought I’d add my own twist. The Coyote Beanie (pictured) is worked in worsted weight yarn and is fairly easy to construct – hey, it’s a beanie! So here’s the link to make your own: Coyote Beanie.

As for the other changes I mentioned, the unwelcome ones, I just remind myself “and this too shall pass” and leave it at that.

I hope you’re feeling well and keeping safe, dear readers. Until next time!

Temp Blanket Finished or: Happy New Year!

When you’ve spent a year working each day on a project…and now you’re finished!

I finished the temperature blanket!!!! For those of you suffering from insomnia, browsing the internet late at night and have stumbled, accidentally, I’m sure, on this entry, a temperature blanket is a project that takes a year to make. The designs can be inventive, quirky, or in my case, as simple as possible, and each row represents the temperature of the day you worked it. For me, the pics represent 365 days of temperature readings. Once again, here are the colors for the temps I used so you can see what kind of year we had climate-wise here in the Sierra Nevadas in 2020. Way cooler to see this chart and have a finished blanket to view and nod, “Oh!”

Which brings me to the new year. I hope to God, Allah, Hare Krishna, Buddha, WHOEVER, that we have a better year. Unfortunately, nipping on the heels of hope after vaccinations are becoming more widely available, there is now a new variant of this fucking virus that is especially contagious. Just as we’re all rounding third base and getting ready to slide into home, it appears the catcher has the ball and we may have to do some fancy footwork. The current thinking among the experts is that the vaccine will work even on the mutation. We need prayers, healing vibes – hell, even crossed fingers, to help with the juju on this one.

2020 FUCK YOU!

In the meantime, keep wearing that mask and social distance when possible. Happy New Year and, God willing, I’ll see on the other side of this!

Sin City Knits, or Another Mini-Vacay

When you take a mini-vacay to the gambling capital of the world during a pandemic.

So here we are again at FL320, flying back home from a two-nighter in Las Vegas. The experience was truly novel; empty TSA lines, no crowds, personalized service, and great deals. Conversely, the absence of throngs of people means many businesses are shuttered for an indeterminate length of time, and the ones that are operating are doing so at 25% capacity. Yikes.

But this is not a news report on the world’s current glum situation. I did go to Las Vegas. I did have a good time (mostly), and of course, I enjoyed losing more money than I should have at the Black Jack tables. We saw sharks swimming in large tanks at The Mandalay Shark Reef Exhibit, we got a bird’s eye view of the strip while flying in a helicopter, AND I almost ziplined down Fremont street with my niece – yea, I paid $53 to chicken out! (shhh! I haven’t told my husband about that).

One of the stops on my expedition was Sin City Knits located at 8826 S Eastern Avenue, Suite 110, where I spoke to the owner Debbi McCarty and taped it. She had no idea I was showing up – I know, very unprofessional of me! – but she took it in stride like a champ. I would have asked more questions, showed more yarns, etc., if my niece and husband weren’t waiting out in a car for me! I did buy a lovely locally dyed yarn that was, of course, mostly green. That is my favorite colorway right now, and I just adore the flecks of red in there. No, it doesn’t look Christmas-y, it’s just gorgeous. Anyway, like Debbi mentions, they’re not set up yet for a whole bunch of online orders, but if you find yourself in Las Vegas, check out this local yarn store. Here’s where they are online:

https://www.facebook.com/SinCityKnitShop

https://www.sincityknitshop.com/

Yes, I did buy that lovely skein of yarn! And yes, we DID maintain a good distance when Debbi removed her mask. Don’t be fooled by the false perspective of the camera.

So would I recommend travel at this time? Nope. Why am I risking infection? Because I’m an idiot? Maybe. But sometimes you just gotta go. In the meantime, I will be checking my temperature and continuing to put my faith in AND practicing social distancing and mask-wearing, as I always have.

As I sit here in this pressurized hunk of metal looking down on snow-capped mountains, I’m aware of a crick in my neck that happened because I got 1 hour of sleep last night and my traveling companion, Xanax (you thought I was going to mention my husband, didn’t you? :-D) is not helping with that…as it shouldn’t. The captain is slowing down the plane a bit and I can feel we’re descending. Back home. Viva Las Vegas, baby. May we all pull through this horrible time together.

Nearing home.

Viva Las Vegas and a Knit Freebie

When two birthdays fall on the same day and one is still suffering from the travel bug.

I must admit, dear readers, that this year may be a banner year for me as far travel is concerned. I think I’ve been fleeing my fears rather than staying put – like we’re supposed to do. But sitting here on my couch, all alone on a dark, rainy day in a house in the forest does nothing more than inspire me to find bright lights, people (who are wearing masks!), and fun. The heebie-jeebies have kicked in yet again.

As my niece and husband share a birthday in December, it only seemed natural that we plan something for this time. Actually, it was my niece, Crystal, who made the suggestion of Las Vegas. So, tickets acquired, dog-sitter set up, and away we go – on another freakin’ airplane!

I know I’m very fortunate to have the resources to travel like this, but those are running out and next year I may be visiting my backyard deck instead of going anywhere. Such is life. If the heebie-jeebies set in again, I’ll make my visit more local. (I’m already thinking of where to next!)

I’m also aware that we’re in the middle of a global pandemic and maybe traveling is not the prescription we’ve been handed, but I’m following the rules of mask-wearing and/or social distancing and it appears to be working. If I get COVID19 and survive it, I’m sure I’ll write about it. Hopefully, that never comes to pass. Seriously.

In the meantime, I am continuing to walk my dogs and lose weight at an extremely slow rate *sigh*. I know that’s the way you’re supposed to do it so good habits can become routine and the yo-yo dieting that I’ve done for the better part of my life will be replaced with a level, healthy weight, and lifestyle. It’s the dog-walking part that motivated me to knit up some mitts specifically for that task.

Here’s the link, if you’re so inclined, and have fun with it! Do bear in mind that this is snug fit, so you may want to make adjustments included in the pattern. Let me know what you think and what modifications you make!

Enjoy!

Remembering the Before Time

When life imitates art it can get weird and surreal.

It feels like a long time since March happened and life around the globe changed. The fact that everything started closing down while we were in Hawaii made the transition for me even more dramatic. Even though we’ve all made adjustments, some things still hit me right between the eyes. Like, where have I been? For example, while walking around in Cost Plus World Market the other day, the piped-in music was interrupted by a recorded, soothing, female voice gently reminding us to wear our masks and keep social distancing. I turned to my friend and said “This feels like Logan’s Run!” She agreed. We also agreed that it was surreal. Sometimes, life imitates art, and when it does, it can be some weird shit.

Vicki trying on the cool wraps at Cost Plus

It wasn’t until I saw a Bass Pro tv promo advertising that Santa was going to be in the shop that I realized just how much this fucking pandemic is changing everything about the upcoming holiday seasons. I mean, the little ones don’t know, but for those of us who remember “the before time”, it brought tears to my eyes. I mean, Santa behind plexiglass? I almost cried. Then, I remind myself, it’s for the children. Act like nothing is different, that everything hasn’t changed, and life goes on. It’s for them. For us who remember, it may never return to our halcyon tinted memories of what was. But what’s really trippy, at least to me, is when the little ones grow older and we’re long gone. They’ll remember these visits to Santa behind the sanitized plexiglass divider and face shield with nostalgia and warm feelings and long for the “good old days”.

image courtesy of http://www.pennlive.com

Houston and Hurricane Delta

So mother nature tried throwing me a curve, but I ended up having fun anyway!

And disaster continues. I’m starting to feel like a Jonah here, people! My last mini-staycay involved the death of my cousin’s friend (no funnies there, really), wildfires, evacuations, and nearby riots. In March, while on the beautiful island of Oahu, in the North Shore area, we watched in disbelief as the world got hit in the face with the coronavirus and everything changed.

So in retrospect, Houston was easy, but it sure didn’t feel like it at the time. I spent way too much time on my phone, watching the projected track of Hurricane Delta. When Southwest Airlines sent me a message that I may want to modify my flight due to weather, I nearly went into a state of apoplexy. With my niece’s young children to keep my behavior in check, I managed to maintain a relatively calm demeanor going, but that is tiring. Ultimately, I did change my departure time to beat the landfall of the storm, and after all that, the most we got were some showers. Not complaining! I had resolved myself to a bumpy departure and the first 20 – 30 minutes of moderate turbulence. Turned out to be the smoothest flight I’ve had in a decade!

But my time there wasn’t spent in a total tissy. I lived in Del Rio, TX from 1988 – 1992, and I realized that Texans still aren’t as concerned with their diets as Californians. LOL! Don’t misunderstand me here – I’m sure there’s plenty of health-conscious Texans, I just didn’t run in to any of them, and the amount steak houses and BBQ joints I saw (and patronized) seemed a bit on the heavy side.

I also went to the NASA Space Center in Houston – whee! – and the Houston Museum of Natural Science. There were so many other things to do, but we had limited time. Here’s some more images to peruse.

On a separate note, the temperature blanket is moving along nicely. It’s getting so large I’m finding it hard to shove back into my gigantic project bag! I can’t wait for this year to be done for so many reasons, but this one is in the top 10!

And I was worried it wouldn’t be long enough!

See you in the funnies!

Post #276

When you’re terrified of something, might as well exorcise it by writing!

Note: this little vignette was written while airborne in an attempt to calm myself. Enjoy!

As I write this,  we’re at FL390 somewhere over OK or TX.  Flat, dun colored geography, punctuated by the occasional green circle created by huge ag sprinklers. The plane shimmies and shakes on a fairly regular basis with the occasional dip to mix things up. An hour into the flight and the captain has not turned off the seat belt sign once. I chose a window seat so I would have a place to rest my head, yet it sizzles from the heat of the constant sun – even with the shade down.

🔥 hot shade

If any of you have read my previous flying entries, you must be wondering why I bother. Seems like I’m always experiencing turbulence coupled with my fear of flying. My life is not exceptionally exciting, but traveling long distances that require air travel does keep popping up. One cool thing about traveling in the age of COVID-19, you get plenty of arm room even in the economy section.

The xanax I took has calmed me down considerably, but the dreams have been strange and I wakeup every 15 minutes anyway. I hope the dizziness is something I can tolerate once we land.

Speaking of which, the captain has just announced we’ll be landing in about 25 minutes. Can’t wait. Terra firma. No recycled air…well, southwest airlines says they refresh their air every 3 – 4 minutes. No unexpected dips that make your stomach turn. And no crappy headaches when the plane starts descending!

Flaps down – yay! Landing!

California Needs Love

How do you stop a beautiful, diverse and once economically sound state from becoming one of the least desirable areas in the world?

I’m writing this post out of frustration for the state that I was born and raised in and live and will probably die in. (dangling participle – I know, shut up). I love California. I love the mountains where I live. I love the beaches I can’t afford. I even love the ag-producing, smog-choked San Joaquin Valley where I spent the larger part of my life and recently escaped.

I generally don’t talk about politics on my blog. I figure let someone else do that and create discord. This is not meant to do that, but I’m sure it will. I will try to keep fact separate from my beliefs, and/or personal experiences.

First, I believe that to vote in a country where you reside, you need to be a citizen or a legal, documented worker. No ifs, ands or buts. I don’t think any other country in the world allows non-citizens to vote, much less mandates laws to assist them.

Second, I believe that the majority of undocumented workers here in California are good people just looking to better their lives and don’t especially like what they’re having to do. Between Federal and State policies, red tape, whatever, becoming legal is getting harder. If you’re already working and contributing to the state’s economy, then that should be an easy in. That would simplify the process.

Third, I believe if an undocumented immigrant is not working, not trying to work, or otherwise free-loading, they should not be getting representation in the state’s government; but they are. I’m sure there are exceptions to this that I can’t even begin to imagine, but for argument’s sake, I am going to put all of these people in the intentional loafers section.

It is the last group that has me chafing at the bit. My husband and I work to support them. You can candy-coat it any way you want, but that’s the gist of it. I know, we also support American-born citizens who just don’t want to work…but that’s a totally different animal there. The fact that I am ignorantly trying to cram this idea in an obscure blogger’s bit of the internet is a bit ridiculous – but I’m pissed. Gonna do it anyway.

Succinctly put, California state government needs to think about the needs of the people who work, legally, and if not, get the workers legal. Period. Do not pass laws to help undocumented, non-working immigrants stay. For the first time in…forever, more people are leaving the state than coming in. Thousands of working, productive, native Californians are moving in an exodus, and poor governance is a huge factor in their decision. We’re on the verge of losing our heart and soul.

I’ve always considered myself a liberal, but seriously, Governor Newsom, I don’t know what your end game is. What are you shooting for?

Post Script: There is soooo much more that needs to go in here, but I know most people (if any do drop by and read this!) don’t want to read a doctoral-length dissertation. Yes, it needs that much attention, devotion and time to get a grip on what we’re facing! But there we are.