World Wide Knit In Public Day: Fail!

I had every intention of knitting in public on June 8, 2019, even if it was just in the damned park by myself. I didn’t realize until it was too ate that I had scheduled the Colfax Stitch ‘n Bitch for a roadtrip to Truckee on that exact day. When I did find out what I’d done, I put public knitting on the itinerary.

That didn’t pan out; however, I did my part for the yarn industry by purchasing my first organic linen yarn and pattern by Quince & Company. The shop? Atelier in Truckee, California, a great place with art supplies and books in the front and yarn in the back.

All in all, I don’t feel too bad for not knitting publicly. I do it twice a week at the local Starbucks so I feel like I do my yarnly duty all the time. Besides, this was fun also. We’re now trying to figure out another venue for our next road trip, perhaps next month?

What did you do for World Wide Knit in Public Day?

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Hawaii Pics; or, the last burn day of the season and I have huge piles of pine needles so I have a massive migraine

Here we are, a whole week and a half since I’ve been back stateside and what have I done? I’ve been inspired to paint, but haven’t picked up a paintbrush or prepared a canvas or even glanced at the acrylics I have stashed in my special toolbox I chose just for my art. I’ve plodded away on my beautiful sweater that I started last year with all the enthusiasm of…well, plodding. I’ve finished the body and now I’m working the sleeves. Sounds exciting, right? Who am I kidding! I’m ashamed to say that most of this time has been spent in a blue funk, moping. It doesn’t help that I’ve uploaded all my Hawaiian and Bahamian pics on my Chromecast screensaver remind me where I’m not and what I’m not doing.

Besides the obvious – I shouldn’t be writing a post about beautiful Hawaii while I’m suffering from a migraine – this appears to be the only time I can sit down in front of the computer and write. Don’t get me wrong! I live on my damned computer, but I’m generally not writing prose, and in this case, categorizing pure fustian. In the spirit of cutting short the rant, we won’t elaborate on the reef snorkeling and wild dolphin sighting outing that was cancelled because of weather, nor will I digress about the aborted Mauna Kea visit because road conditions were unmanageable past 9000′ even with a four-wheel drive auto, and any discussion is right out regarding the earthquake we experienced sitting on a washed-up log while enjoying the black sands beach in Waipi’o Valley. LOL! While these snidely remarks make me appear ungrateful, I am not. Reading about how someone had a beautiful time in a paradise is generally a deadly dull undertaking. Hearing about the travails in a personal Shangri La panders to one’s schadenfreude, a lowly endeavor, indeed, but commonly espoused by most writers of fiction and non-fiction. I mean, how freakin’ boring would most movies be without it? Hm?

Fear not, dear readers. All is not lost. Another basic part of story structure is called the denouement, or resolution. We did do many cool things and see many splendiferous sights, the most amazing was the cabin in which we stayed. Let’s not forget the “Ring of Fire” helicopter ride.* I was able to put my tootsies in black sand, get up close and personal to the pahoehoe and trip on the aptly named a’a lava rocks! (note to self: don’t wear sandals on lava rock!), get drenched, multiple times, in a tropical downpour, witness a cool photoshoot on dramatic cliffs, experience the climate diversity in the interior valley between the two dormant behemoth volcanoes, snap pics of absolutely gorgeous flowers, be lulled to sleep by the croaking frogs and legions of insects indigenous to rain forests and much more. So, yea, we had a great time, and because of the wonderfulness of air miles, we have already booked another Hawaiian vacay for next year on the North Shore in Oahu. I don’t how we’ll be able to afford it even with that flight being taken care of, but, eh. We’ve got cancellation insurance.

But wait – let’s make this more interactive. I will post a poll of activities that will push my comfort zone. The one that gets voted the most, I will do, document and post next year! I’ll remind everyone periodically to vote, and close the poll around Thanksgiving so I can make arrangements. I will NOT do anything dangerous nor incredibly expensive, but if you see something that would make for a good laugh, you may include it as an option on the poll.

In the meantime, here’s way too many pics from around the Big Island. Enjoy!

*For the first time in 35 years, there are no active lava flows on the Big Island; nevertheless, this was FUN! I know, I know, after reading about my fear of flying, you’re probably thinking What is wrong with this woman? For me, it’s not the same as flying in a big, impersonal commercial airliner. If we had made the 2,668 mile trip in a Piper or Cessna puddle jumper, not only would it have been epic, but it would have been way more comfortable for me, if not a tad long. For me, helicopters fall in the same realm of comfortable.

Hawaii

With only a few days left before we depart, dear readers, I have a confession to make.  The recent gift that fell onto my lap last month, (again, thank you, Danielle Cotton!), may cast me in the light of a most vacuous, shallow and unworthy person, but I assure you, that’s not the case.  At least, I hope not…  When I found out that I had won a trip to the Bahamas, my husband, Rick, and I, were already planning on going to Hawaii.  The Big Island.  I love the geology, black sand beaches, pineapples, coffee and the general lush foliage that comes to mind when I think of these enchanted chain of volcanic islands.  I’ve written a few posts about Hawaii and tiki.  So, yea.  I’ve always wanted to go, and I’ve made no secret of it.

https://nittinninja.wordpress.com/2015/07/17/change-of-schedule/

https://nittinninja.wordpress.com/2015/08/11/shrug-finished/

https://nittinninja.wordpress.com/2017/03/28/for-the-first-time-in-over-30-years/

Packing to go – not staged at all! LOL

You may wonder why I felt it necessary to make a side trip to the Bahamas, and I would counter: The Trailer Park Boys.  I wanted to go hang out, have some fun, and hopefully meet them.  As much as I am looking forward to Hawaii, the unadulterated thrill of fandom was something else, if not a little embarrassing at my age – but I don’t care.  It was too fun!

A niggling worry has beset me these last few weeks.  I believe it is a valid concern, but maybe some good will come of it.  What is it? you ask.  I’m afraid that the rest of my life will seem very dull in comparison with these last few months.  However long, or short, the rest of life will be remains to be seen; you get the point.  Has this ever happened to anyone else?  It has with me already, several times.  The upside?  I’m saving for next year’s excursion, be it with the Trailer Park Boys, or an expedition to Antarctica.  You only live once, and as time flies by, the tired, old cliché of a mid-life crisis starts to make sense, although, I think “mid-life” may be optimistic on my part!  And that last sentence was cram packed with tired old clichés (I may have to write a post on the importance of clichés and why they’re needed)!

Next time I write an entry, be prepared for a glut of pictures and a paucity of words.  Aloha!

TPB Bahamas Cruise

Terror at 30,000′, or no Xanax

Ka-chung.  CLANK!  Whirrrr….The nose of the 737 lifted off the tarmac and I was pressed back into the seat. I gripped the arm rests, fueled by fear-induced adrenaline. I didn’t have time to take the Xanax I had requested from my doctor before boarding, so I thought I would be able to access it from the overhead compartment when we were at cruising level.  As it went, both flights I had to take were bumpy as fack, i.e., we were strapped in for about 95% of the time, so I had no access to my relief.  Well, maybe I could have taken some in Denver, but I didn’t want to risk showing up at Tampa dazed and confused. I decided to adult it out, and tried to look like I was a normal person, not a terrified loonie that expected the plane to unscientifically plummet into the hard ground from FL300. I don’t know how well I pulled off the “seasoned traveler” look, but it must have been passable since people weren’t gawping and little children weren’t crying as they walked by me.

travelers at Tampa Airport
Tampa Airport

Eventually, we landed, intact, at Tampa. Since there were electrical issues in Denver, the plane ran late, so instead of using the hotel’s shuttle, which I just missed, I had to use Uber for the first time.  And my cell phone battery was dying.  I managed to download the app, figure it out, and get a ride with 2% left!  I gave the polite driver a tip and a good rating.  He deserved it, because I was a hot mess of babbling nerves. It was past midnight when I finally checked in, and I was hungry. Fortunately, I had a few dollars on me so I was able to slake my hunger with a vending machine Snickers bar and a Coke. You know, health food.

Getting on board the next day was interesting.  Once we passed the TSA portal, we walked into an area that felt like a covered football stadium; it was that large.  At first glance, all I saw was a gigantic room full of people milling about and I sighed.  This was going to take forever; however, once I realized there was some method to the madness, i.e. filling out health forms, showing citizenship documentation, tickets, etc., it went rather quickly.  We weren’t there above 20 minutes before being shuffled through a covered gangplank where employees of Norwegian Cruise Lines were standing in corners, armed with squirt bottles filled with, what I hope, anti-bacterial spray and saying “Washy, washy!” as they misted random hands with cleanliness. 

Then we were off on a themed cruise.  On reflection, I took so few pictures, especially when I got to meet Pat Roach, John Paul Tremblay, Mike Smith, (none!) and Jacob Rolf (one), in that order.  Considering a larger part of who I am is the damned camera, I happened to do a poor job of documenting this trip. HOWEVER, I spent many productive hours at the black jack tables, entered a black jack tournament to beat out a bunch of guys because I played like I always do – conservatively. Unfortunately, playing conservatively also gets one a low score, so I was dunned out by the second round.  And let’s not forget the whole reason I was there!!  The Trailer Park Boys put on their rowdy brand of shows and worked hard.  I hope they enjoyed it at least a little.

We didn’t stop at Stirrup Cay because the swells had prevented the ship docking, so we were diverted and the excursions that I’d paid for and was so looking forward to, were refunded.  No swimming with the manta rays, no snorkeling, no big party on the beach.  Instead, we docked in Freeport around 3:00 pm, which is just a port, where I walked around among souvenir shops and food stalls and took a pic or two for about 15 minutes just so I could be on Bahamian soil.  Did it upset me that much? Nope. 

There have been rumors flying around the internet that another cruise is in the works.  I don’t know if these plans will come to fruition, but I do know I already have a quiet fund that’s building in equity so I won’t need to rely on the goodness of a stranger’s heart (Danielle Cotton <3<3, love you, girl!) to get myself on board when it comes around again!

While there was so much more to comment on, I will leave it here for now; just suffice to say, that as I flew back home, feeling great because I’d taken a Xanax, I leaned against the window, drowsy and relaxed. As my eyelids fluttered close over my eyes, I imagined the bumps of the turbulence as the eddies of a river, and the occasional variations in altitude as the swells of the ocean.

I slept.

Going home

 

An Unexpected Cruise

I don’t know if you all are aware of this, but I’ve been blowing up my Facebook and Twitter accounts with the upcoming cruise that I won to the Bahamas with my favorite foul-mouthed Canadians, The Trailer Park Boys. If vituperative language is not in your everyday vocabulary, this is definitely not your thing. I am sure there will be much drinking and swearing and general shenanigans. I almost feel sorry for the other cruisers who aren’t involved in this. Almost.

Very excited – to include nervous!

How did I win something like this? I have a Swearnet friend, Danielle Cotton, who already had her tickets lined up and ready to go. She must have got tired of my whining that I wasn’t going, but what she did, I never expected to go through. She nominated me for what Norwegian Cruise Lines calls a “scholarship”. That means, your room and all the extras that come along with it are covered. We were hopeful, but not too optimistic. I mean, how many others were doing this? So imagine my surprise when I got a congratulatory email detailing what I had to do to ensure my room on this cruise. You never saw anyone set up an account as fast as I did! As with most prizes, not all expenses are covered, such as how I was going to get there. Since the boat sails from Tampa, Florida, and I live in Northern California (yes, capital letter for Northern!) I also had to purchase a round-trip plane ticket. And therein lies the rub, the fly in my ointment, the short hair in the mayonnaise.

I can’t stand flying.

For those of you who know me, this is an oxymoron. In another life, I was an air traffic controller in the USAF, and after that, I was a simulator operator for the D.O.D, helping instructor pilots train the new recruits. I learned a lot about flying and I took lessons myself. I understand the principal behind flying, I have landed a plane by myself in not so fair weather conditions. So why this unreasoning fear? Maybe because I won’t be the pilot? Maybe because the airline industry is flagging in its attention to maintenance? Maybe because we are, after all, human, and we have no wings? With the departure date for March 6, I have to fly in the day before. Tomorrow. And I’m sitting here, trying, in part, to exorcise this fear by writing about it.

But enough of that.

I’M GOING TO THE BAHAMAS, BITCHES!!

And yes, I will be taking my knitting…

Snow Day and a Freebie

So far this year, my entries have been a bit on the dark side; the post about my daughter, absolutely harrowing. This time, I promise, I’ll focus on something else. Nevermind the title, I like snow…unless I have to shovel it. So that’s what I’m going to do. Post pictures of the snow.

Snowy trees line my driveway
Guess who’s shoveling this snow….?
Tulips peeking through the snow
Taken from my front porch
I really liked the gate
A little subtle HDR action

Looking up

And just in time, the freebie! A simple Rolled Brim Slouchy pattern. There is a little shaping to the hat, it’s not just a tube, and I should have possibly made it a bit longer to get more of a slouch, but, oh, well. I still like it, and hope you do too. Enjoy!

Closure

On January 26th, the small town of Colfax lost part of its soul. A perennial favorite of the locals and hungry travelers on I-80 for seven years, Cafe Luna closed its doors for the last time.

It was the sopas with carnitas that hooked me. The very first time I ate at the cafe in 2015, it was located on Depot Street, in a hole in the wall. Well…an even smaller hole in the wall. Mario’s music was playing, Lauren was still nursing Lola, the vibe was super cool and casual, the food was great. What more could a customer want? For those of us who were regulars, it was as comfortable as hanging out at a friend’s house. We got excited when the back of the building was opened up for more seating options – (yay!); we counted the days as Lauren waddled around, working right up to her due date with Mael, who then became the town baby; we watched in dismay as the news of their separation and divorce ultimately became public knowledge.

But life goes on, and Mario continued the business, experimenting with different ideas. Some of them were hits, some were misses. He was just about to re-open the back after a massive redo to what was surely going to be a hit when he discovered his lease wasn’t being renewed.

Moving, no matter how well planned, is generally a messy endeavor. Locating another site for your business can be tiresome, very expensive and usually requires lots of time. The new owner of the building, for whatever personal or business reasons, gave Mario three months to vacate; Mario chose to end it after one month.

The last business day, Saturday, I ordered a favorite of mine. I would have liked to order the whole menu so I could make the savory goodness last…but it wouldn’t have. The food was always made with fresh ingredients and wouldn’t have kept well. Instead, I ate it slowly, trying to remember the textures, tastes and smell.

Monday rolled around and I was back at the cafe with my camera to take pics for Mario on a different project, so I snapped a few while there of the progress being made. All the little knick-knacks that made the place so homey were packed up, the walls were uncharacteristically bare, and an empty McDonald’s bag sat on a table, a telling sight in this room. The cooler that normally held the drinks and salsa and other condiments was turned off, no happy music came from the kitchen where Mario normally spent his work day. It was, after all, just a place with four walls, a roof and a floor.

I have asked Mario several times if he plans to continue looking for another local site. His response is general and vague, and he assures me if something good comes up, he’ll pursue it, but for now, he’ll be working at Dine ‘n Dash.

So ends that chapter of Cafe Luna on 38 N. Main Street. We will miss you.