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

 

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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…

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?

 

Xanax and Funny Yarn Memes

I don’t know about you, but when I’m feeling a bit down I find a good laugh helps a lot.  I understand this sentiment is shared by virtually everyone, but the last several days, I’ve rediscovered just how true that is.  I finally had to give up the ghost on my old Xanax stash as it had been prescribed back in 2007.   Aware of the addicting properties of the drug, I’ve always been very careful how I took them.  Even with the current opioid hyper-awareness – scare – witch hunt – what-the-fuck-ever! my doctor prescribed me several to help me get over a few things in my life.  He said that opioid addiction was one of the things he wasn’t worried about with me.  I definitely wasn’t on my toes, because normally I would have responded with, “So what does worry you?” *sigh* Most likely, it was a good thing I didn’t pursue that.  Anyway, he’s a good doc and also a good chat, because he made me laugh during the course of our visit, and when I did, I literally felt some tension go away.  Nothing in the world like that, so I thought I’d throw in some funny yarn memes to help spread the goodness!

Teehee.....

My Life!!

I can crochet, but I don't want to make things for you!

But I will teach you how!!!

Nittin' Ninja

Soooo me!!!

Nittin' Ninja party-style

Let’s not forget Saturday nights, y’all!

Nittin' Ninja

Ouch!

Nittin' Ninja

hahahaha! I hear the two crafts mistaken constantly! I have to bite my tongue in order not to blurt out their conversational faux pas!

Nittin' Ninja

Oh, yea. House looks like a hurricane AND an earthquake hit it, but wait – this hat is not going to finish itself!

Nittin' Ninja

Only when we’re into the three digit projects!

Unashamed Plug


Crazy Knitter humor T-Shirt

Crazy Knitter humor Women’s Classic T-Shirt

by
NittinNinja

I don’t know why I think thought this was so funny and why I still think it’s funny, but hey – it is what it is.  And I can’t wait to get that shirt!  I sell my designs on CafePress and Zazzle.  Since knitting and crocheting are “niche” crafts, I don’t sell that many.  Or maybe they’re not as good as I think!  Anyway, I am so proud of this one that I had to actually write about it.  I laughed at each ridiculous stroke of the mascara and wildly applied eye shadow.  I come from a family of gurners and this just seemed to fit so well with my personality.  Anyway, right now CafePress is having a sell on this particular t-shirt and you can put whatever you want on it, but I’d really appreciate a thumb’s up!

Bar Knitting

You don’t have to drink to enjoy the view.

As many of you may already know, I have a local crafts Facebook group called “Colfax Stitch ‘n Bitch”.  In an attempt to increase participation, I added another meeting day to include the people who couldn’t manage Thursday evenings.  Sunday afternoons seemed a good thing.  I also wanted to change up the venue a bit and set up a poll with possible sites and threw in a red herring.  With my sense of humor being what it is, that was a given.  The red herring?  A local bar called The Red Frog that boasts the best mountain view that I’ve ever seen.  I haven’t been to that many bars, much less those that feature views, so, take my word for it.  It’s beautiful.  The Red Frog was chosen, so I posted it was, and quite a few people were excited about the event. There were some members who declined because it was a bar; I get it.  Otherwise, I thought I’d see a few new faces.

I like taking my bowl with me!

I showed up on time, made my way back to the patio and was surprised to see how busy it was.  In general.  The patio part of the bar is just that – open to the elements.  With only a roof, there’s no heating, no air conditioning.  You deal with what nature gives you.  It was 95 degrees F that day.  With the shade and a little breeze it was tolerable enough.  I saw the one remaining table available and I grabbed it up.

And there I sat for 30 minutes, knitting and drinking my virgin mango margarita.  It was delicious.  I expected someone to say something to me. A lively bar is not where you’d expect to find a middle-aged woman knitting, but all I got were some second glances and everyone went about their drinking and/or eating.  When a spot cleared up at the open viewing area, I quickly gathered up my gear, switched seats and continued to nurse my drink.

All-in-all, it wasn’t a bad time.  I rather liked it and intend to return either alone or with more people.  As for my group, I called them all wimps!  I may not have a group much longer….

Maybe It Wasn’t Meant To Be…

I really hate that expression.  It’s usually preceded by some depressing story about love, loss, etc., with an overwhelming feeling of helplessness.  What are you supposed to say?  “Maybe it wasn’t meant to be” always seems to be my go-to platitude.  And if to the receiver, I’m sounding like a broken record, then you need to make your life better, even if it wasn’t meant to be!

The incident that brought up this vitriol wasn’t nearly as dramatic as those stories one hears, but equally frustrating.  As those of you who have follow me on Facebook, you know I’ve been busting my buns, making accessories that I hope will sell at crafts fairs.  I was excited that maybe today, the last day at this one venue,  I’d be able to cover the basic costs of making all these goodies.  With three dismal shows under my belt, I was willing (and still am) to give it another go.

I made my normal preparations last night, ensuring that I had proper ice packs for my lunch since the temperature hit the 80s today – again – that I had plenty of business cards, that all the inventory was in the traveling bags, that the dummy heads still appeared presentable, and everything that was in its proper place and order.  Everything was A-OK.  We were ready to roll.

Then reality sets in.  Didn’t get to sleep until 6 am and the alarm went off at 8:40.  Had to splash cold water on my face at least twice.  Since part of my prep is picking out the clothes I’m going to wear, that didn’t take long.  With a set-up deadline of 9:45 looming over my head, I was in my car and driving with 25 minutes to drive 10 miles and be ready for biz.  As I don’t have a very complicated display table, we were still good.

Then the fuel gauge gives me an orange light.  We are on “E” and I’m not one of those types willing to push my car’s gasoline capacity limits!  So I had to go out of my way to get to a gas station, and while there, I discovered I had forgotten my cell phone.  I needed that to make scheduled calls as part of my business.  So back I go.

When I get back in the car it’s already after 10:00.  That means people are already ambling around at the farm, looking at the animals, examining the goods for sell. Well, mostly ambling around in my limited experience; it’s rare that people start buying before before 1:00.

After reassuring myself that the owner, who was emphatic about being on time, won’t be too terribly miffed, I’m watching my speedometer to ensure I don’t get crazy fast, which is kind of hard on these back roads anyway, and trying to remain positive.  I hate being late, especially in this kind of situation, but I always seem to be in a losing battle with the clock.

When I reached my destination, all was well.  No one was waiting with arms crossed and toe tapping, so I pulled my van into the vendor’s area, being as careful as I can because there are little children everywhere.  I see my spot, turn off the engine, and scoot around to the back to start unloading everything.  And I see this. 20171028_115345

So let’s play the game of “What’s Missing?”.  See it?  No?  That’s because it’s not there.  The table, where I’m going to place everything and drape with a cloth and dangle items from there with clothespins.  OMF!

I text the owner and ask if she has something I can use.  She does not.  And I’m hemmed in now by the horse buggy that’s loading up with it’s first payload of the day.  So I wait.  When the buggy has moved, the owner comes around and helps me back out so everyone’s safe and she’s all ready to see me next year.

The point of this story?  I’m losing my mind.  I cannot believe I forgot the table.

Well, it’s done and apparently, there will be another opportunity for another major screw up next year!!!

See you in the funny pages.