Time Out

When life gets overwhelming, take a walk.

It’s been three weeks since the fires near me were burning out of control. They have since been put out, but not before four more fires closer to me we’re started then contained…mostly. Good news for me is that I’m still here. It hasn’t been so lucky for other people. Again, there haven’t been any deaths related to all these fires but a lot of property loss. I feel so sorry for the people who have lost everything. They didn’t have time to go back to their houses to pack up anything… to include their beloved pets. 😢

With the fires, my husband constantly gone and me having to deal with all these urgent/emergency situations by myself, the pandemic, the continual underlying feeling of dread, and my personal health issues (which I do not discuss in detail here, because hey – it’s personal), I’ve been having trouble not crying out of context. I’m expecting at any moment to break down and not be able to recover. I can’t concentrate, I can’t remember things or habits I’ve known for years, I forget the new stuff, I’m snappy to the people I work with, – – and none of them deserve that – so I figured I’d better take a few days off. Hopefully I can get my head together, figure out a coping mechanism of some kind, because I know things aren’t going to change any time soon.

So life goes on. I still walk my dogs (when the smoke allows), still knit and crochet, still hang with this guy I’ve been married to for 38 years, and I still have hope for the future.

Here’s some pictures that will brighten the tone of this post. Enjoy!

This activity can help, but I have been known to “cry walk”. (No, not an obscure reference to “Home Movies!”)
Giggling with my husband at a restaurant during one of the few times he’s home
My furbabies canoodling on my lap
This happened 10 minutes after my husband left for work. Had to deal with it – and yes, I did!
My latest design. I’m calling it Jungle Creeper!
Working on my first “Shawl In A Ball” project while waiting to be swabbed

Fire

Hello, dear readers. In my last post I complained of the new term “Fire Season”. This post, I’m living it.

It started yesterday with a phone call from my daughter. I was just finishing up a late lunch at work. She asked if I was all right because she had heard of a fire that was started down on Bear River (latitude: 39.08364670, longitude: -120.98632740 in case you want to look it up). I didn’t think much of it until I went back to work and looked it up on YubaNet. It started off small, at 5 acres. 10 minutes later it was 25 acres, then it leaped to 100 acres within the space of 30 minutes. It was growing exponentially…in the general direction of my house.

I left.

As I was pulling out of the parking lot on my trek home, I saw the smoke plume rising up on the horizon, 20 miles away.

This was about 3 miles from ground zero. And yes, I remained aware of my surroundings while taking this pic.

Over the last several years I have watched as Northern California burned all around us and wondered how much longer our neck of the woods would go unaffected. That wait is over.

I have friends who have lost everything.

At this time, 15% of the fire is contained and the weather has been favorable, but tomorrow that changes. August will continue to live up it to its dog days reputation with high temperatures and the wind is going to reverse itself. So far I’ve been fortunate and I’m still in my house. Granted I’m packed and ready to go, so in the interim, I will be living out of my suitcase.

These fires can last for weeks, even months. I am hoping that this is not the case. Here are some videos culled from around the internet.

I hope that my next blog post will find me indoors, but we shall see. It’s late so I’m going to bed.

Good night, all.

Of Weight Loss, A New Family Member, The Never-ending Knit Project and Keeping Cool

When life slaps you in the face, you punch it back (or at least you try)! Tired of being overweight, I am now at an acceptable BMI, have a new doggie, am still working on that same sweater, and dealing with Northern California Fire Season.

Hello, dear readers. It’s been awhile, I know, but that does appear to be my blogging modus operandi! That way, I am more assured of having some interesting content – we hope. In the interim, thank you so much for reading my entries when they do show.

Over the last several years, I know I’ve mentioned here in my blog that I am losing weight. I still am. I wanted to show off a little, even though I have another 20 pounds, or about another year, to go. The motivation? I was taking meds for cholesterol, hypertension, and my blood sugar was wobbling from prediabetic to diabetic. My “Fuck. This.” moment was when I got another medication added to my already intolerably long list.

I have lost weight before, but it’s never stuck. I’m a classic example of a yo-yo dieter. I didn’t want to do that – yet again. So when I asked my long-suffering doctor, who has since retired, what I needed to do to lose weight, he sighed, and repeated what he had been telling me for the previous five years; take long walks, don’t eat out at fast food joints/restaurants so much, lay off the white rice/white flour, and make sure you include vegetables and fruits in your daily regimen.

And I finally listened.

It’s been bumpy, and I back-slid, which was so discouraging, but I persevered. I haven’t been on any official diet, just being moderate in what I eat. My biggest hope is that by taking so long and being patient with the weight loss, I am teaching myself how to maintain it once I get there. The maintenance, or everyday living, once you reach a weight goal, is actually harder than losing it. That’s why there is such a thing as “yo-yo dieting”. I didn’t make it up, I promise.

Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks to losing weight as a late middle-aged woman. I noticed almost immediately that I literally lost my ass. I mean, seriously? That never happened when I lost weight as a young woman. Also, my hips are way too narrow. I imagine with more weight loss, the girls are also going to go. But I gotta do this; I don’t want to be taking anymore crappy drugs that mess up my homeostasis – not worth it. I also know that due to age and genetic predisposition, I won’t be able to cut out all the meds. I waited too long. My bad. But as the old adage goes “Better late than never”.

Truth.

So enough about that.

You need to meet Peanut, the latest addition to our fur baby family. He was a stray found wandering around in our neighborhood who was taken to the Placer County Animal Shelter, then ended up coming home with me. I just can’t imagine someone dropping off this little sweetheart, but I also can’t imagine he ended up way out in my neck of the woods all by himself. It’s a long walk to anywhere else. There were posts in social media (that’s how I discovered him) and he was at the shelter for 12 days. There was plenty of opportunity for a concerned dog parent to retrieve him, but that didn’t happen.

And as with all my rescues I try not to dwell upon where they came from. Were they loved? Abused? Neglected? Do they miss their previous owners? The “trying” part doesn’t work, and my husband tells me to STOP. They are loved and well taken care of NOW.

I think he’s a chiweenie – what do you think?

Which brings me to the never-ending sweater project. In my last post in February, I was voicing my optimism about being done in two months. Riiigghhht.

As evidenced in the images, this is one slow-moving project that is killing my soul. I posted the same pic on my Facebook Nittin’ Ninja page, asking if I should just change out from the k2 p2 pattern and switch to knit only just to finish the damn thing! As of right now, I’m being encouraged to stick to the pattern. *sigh*

I do want to wear this eventually, and when I started this odyssey, I set this up for a “large”. I am counting on the fact that my tension can sometimes be a little tight, though I am concerned that only counts with the knit stitch. Ribbing is a different story altogether. I better not finally finish this just to discover it’s too big. I will be madder than hell!

And talking about hell, it’s summertime here in Northern California where Fire Season is in full swing. Yes. I did write “Fire” followed by the word “Season”. I have always associated the word “season” with something pleasant. Fast forward to now. Can you imagine trying to sell that concept for holiday makers? This summer, add a frisson of danger to your vacation – visit the western United States. Choke on the lovely smoke, see the flames licking up the once tall, majestic trees, flee for your life. What the fuck? But yes, there are fires all around us, people losing their homes, and businesses – thank God, no deaths so far. Anymore, this is an annual mini-season and it’s debilitating to one’s sense of well-being, let alone what it’s doing to your lung health. And don’t ask about the homeowners insurance rates.

This smoky haze in Colfax proper is from two counties over.

Last year we experienced unacceptable air conditions for around two months. I am not looking forward to that this year. It seems, and I may be wrong, that the fires started later this year. Maybe wishful thinking? In the meantime, I don’t walk the doggies when it’s too bad, I just get on the treadmill and do my normal summer thing; always have my nose on high alert and watch for fire notifications on social media.

So what do we do to keep cool in these unacceptable conditions? We go to the river, the lake, or higher up to Tahoe…which I don’t really do the last one because it’s way too damn busy with tourists and I’m too lazy to drive that 50 minutes or so! The rivers and lakes around here are 10 minutes away, can also be crowded with tourists, but, eh, like I said, it’s only ten minutes away! LOL

So how’s your summer going? See you in the funny pages!

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