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!

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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.

Curses and Blessings

In and out of consciousness – don’t ask why I was taking pics at a time like this!

On New Year’s Eve, a night traditionally reserved for revelry, reflection and resolutions, I sat in the emergency room, feeling utterly helpless, watching my daughter slowly lose consciousness while struggling to breathe.  Puzzled because she wasn’t running a fever, the nurses ran a battery of tests on her after asking a slew of questions to which we (I) responded “no”.  Their initial assessment was a massive infection, but blood work wasn’t backing that up.  They were just about to check for a pulmonary embolism when I mentioned her weight loss.

If, dear reader, you remember a post from a year back, I mentioned that I was losing weight, which I have, and all that entailed.  My daughter took the opportunity to lose weight with me.  She lost weight by cutting back on her sugars, carbs and portions and seemed to be doing fine, except the last month or so, she was looking too skinny.  Everyone was asking if she was eating enough and she assured all and sundry she was – multiple times.  In fact, her answers were getting harsh and snippy because she was starting to feel badgered.  As part of her dietary effort, she’d increased her water intake some time back, so no one was alarmed by the gallon of water, sometimes more, she was drinking every day.  If I had written all these signs on paper and looked at it, I would have insisted she see a doctor.  As it was, and happens so often when you’re too close to a situation, we had no idea.

Wonderful ICU nurses
Some relief found here…

I’m sure most of you have guessed by now the diagnosis the nurses and doctors came up with: diabetic ketoacidosis as a result of uncontrolled diabetes.  Type I or II is yet to be determined. For her sake, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Type II because I’ve heard it’s more easy to control.  What really freaked me out was the how?  Diabetes doesn’t run in our family.  It doesn’t fit in with the information I’ve received all my life.  This was totally unexpected.  I thought it was possibly asthma exacerbated by allergies or a collapsed lung, but diabetes?

Several days have passed since I first started this post.  She was released Friday, whereupon we proceeded to a restaurant that we knew would have acceptable food, and the onerous maintenance and forethought that is part and parcel of her condition kicked in.  I’ve been on diets before, and I actually worked at Jenny Craig in the mid ’90s, so I understand portion control and exchanges, but instead of being focused on caloric intake, she has to carefully monitor her sugar levels and understand the relationship between carbs and metabolism.  Since she’s my daughter, she already knew about this because her mother is a quasi hypochondriac wannabe nurse/doctor who was raised by a medical transcriptionist who listened to doctors dictating patients’ case histories all day long.  *pauses, takes a deep breath*  In other words, I know just enough to be dangerous.    

Life goes on, but for my daughter, it almost didn’t.  Do I have a new appreciation for her? for life in general?  I would like to think so.

How was your New Year’s?

Two Days Without My Cell Phone, or: I’ve got to change my ways

As a vendor in the midst of the holiday crafts fair whirl, sometimes a person can just…lose it.  And by lose it, I mean totally air out on where the single most important communication device I own is misplaced.

It was 5:07 pm Saturday evening when it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I was wondering why I hadn’t heard my musical alarm that I have set for 4:30 from Thursdays to Saturdays to remind me I have to make a phone call to one of my clients.  I was so far gone in working on some pattern revisions that I had lost track of, not only time, but my cell phone.  That’s when I realized I’d left it in my husband’s car; my husband who had just gone to work; who works for the railroad and is gone for days at a time.

gabriel-matula-300398-unsplash

I panicked.  I tried to hook up my tablet for phone use, but since my cell phone wasn’t nearby, it couldn’t be activated.  Didn’t used to work that way.  I remember leaving my phone at a smog inspection station several years ago, and I was able to use my tablet as an emergency phone.  What’s up with that, AT&T?  Basically, I was dead in the water.

I happen to be of a certain generation that was raised when telephones were hard-wired to the wall with thick cables, connected to a terminal somewhere in the distance, protected by miles of conduits.  There was no way to turn it off when you didn’t want to be bothered.  If you were taking a shower and heard the phone ring, you jumped out, grabbed a towel (or not), hastily wrapped it around your body to cover your shame and ran to wherever it was located to answer it.  Same applied when you were taking a nap – you answered that phone, because you had no idea who was on the other end.

When you left your house, you left your ability to be contacted.  No message machines, no call history, no pagers.  You were incommunicado – and it was all right.  It felt like freedom, knowing you couldn’t be reached.

Fast forward to December 2018, and the loss of the use of the phone feels like losing a limb…or at least, how I would imagine I would feel losing a limb!  And it didn’t make sense.  Virtually all the programs that I accessed on my phone I could easily manage from my laptop…except, of course, the phone.  I didn’t even go anywhere on Sunday, because…you never know when you’ll need your cell, the biggest being, what if I got into an accident?  Since when did it become so freakin’ important to have this device?  Maybe because, like most of us, I no longer have a landline.  I don’t know.  I find it disturbing.

What can I do about it?  Maybe I should disconnect on a regular basis.  Let everyone know beforehand, and just turn the damn thing off.  Actually go out and about and leave it at home like we used to do.  See how that feels.  Naw….I’ll probably continue on as I have been, intertwining my life with devices and apps and games and programs in such a way that it becomes difficult to function otherwise.  *sigh*

So, how was your weekend?