Reno, Jimmy Beans Wool, Live Outlaw, and Oahu

What happens when a lazy blogger packs in three months worth of stuff…at least the stuff she remembers!

We’re officially in a countdown to leaving for Hawai’i! Last year we visited the Big Island; this year, we’re going to do Oahu, the North Shore area. I’ll be visiting a yarn store while there, and I wanted to do a live broadcast and possibly an interview with the store owner. Last year, I missed the store owner at the yarn store and that whole thing went kinda flat, so I just took a few pics of the inventory. Lovely stuff, though.

So far, I’ve written a letter asking permission to do all this, so we’ll see.

In the meantime, life, and all its unexpected twists and turns, goes on. Nala my rescue chihuahua, broke into some Valentine’s chocolates just before our overnighter in Reno and we rushed her to the vet. She was given an emetic and barfed her way to wellness!

On the way home in-between bouts of throwing up.

She was feeling better after several hours of napping, but I continued to hover over her to make myself feel better because it sure didn’t do her any good!

You may be wondering why Reno features so prominently in the title, when in fact, Oahu should be the mainliner. Well, if you’re a fan of yarn, and I assume you are if you’re reading this!, Jimmy Beans Wool is synonymous with Reno, and no trip there would be complete without a visit…where I spent waayyy more money than I should have. I indulged in a Namaste Maker’s Backpack, in red, of course, some delicious Peruvian yarn and customized stitch markers. Do I regret it? Nope. Not a smidge. So, yea. We’re good!

Recently, Live Outlaw, formerly Outlaw Soaps, who I work for (or is it for whom I work? *shrug*), moved from the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountain range in Northern California to Reno for several valid reasons, but all I cared about was that they were moving away from ME! Wah! I wanted to check out the new warehouse and pick up some goods. Danielle Vincent, CFO and general badass, gave me the grand tour, and all I got were these two pics! Way too busy chatting!!

A quick plug, if you want to try some truly unique and badass soap, click on the link in the above paragraph. It’s no risk because they have an excellent 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. In fact, there are quite a few 5-star reviews where the customers returned the product but were incredibly happy with the customer service. It’s a win-win. One of the reasons why I work for them – that, and I get free goodies!

Ultimately, it was my continued journey in the Trailer Park Boys fandom universe that acted as the catalyst in getting us to Reno. Pat Roach is touring the West and East Coast of America doing Randy’s Cheeseburger Picnic. Yay! BTW, if you’re not already a fan, you may not get this, sooo, follow the link at your own risk! LOL

So, we actually had fun in Reno, and I suspect this will not be the end of our forays there.

And to wrap it all up, I give you a picture of my temperature blanket, in progress until the end of this year ~ ta-daaa!

This is going to be large. Not sure I like my choice of colors, now. LOL!!

See you all in the funny pages!

Of Yarn Crawls, Craft Shows, Re-Imagining, And A Snowy Thanksgiving

Here we are, staring Christmas in the face, and I am, yet again, in the middle of the busy craft season. I started building up my inventory in August, but I think it looks woefully small…again. I should have started in June, but I don’t feel like spending the better part of the year, and my life, making stuff for sale. I like wearing the stuff I make *pout*.

Adopting our newest family member from the shelter!
My new baby and a sweater I knit

Conversely, no one is putting a gun to my head and forcing me to do this. I feel that selling my goods is a way to not feel like a freeloader in my house. Along with my writing gig at Outlaw Soaps that I mentioned a few posts back, I realize that, yes, I am contributing, but it doesn’t feel like enough.

In the spirit of that thought, I decided to up my game with my graphics. Rather than keep them in the limited world of Cafe Press, Zazzle, etc., I have re-imagined my Nittin’ Ninja brand. I now have shops on Etsy, Inktale, and Bonanza platforms. Still working on loading graphics – did not realize how much time it would take! However, if you’re interested, click on those links! If this isn’t your cup of tea, do me a solid and share the goodness, please! This is a very limited niche market, and I’m just trying to spread the word at this point. Thank you guys!

On to other stuff!

After many years of reading about yarn crawls and wondering what they were like, our area LYS finally got it together. Of the 11 participating shops, I made it to only three before I ran out of money!

Map of Sierra Nevada 1st Annual Yarn Crawl
Those three pins look sooo lonely!

As you can see, I will have to pace myself. I had actually planned to hit up at least 6, but there were other events going, such as the Colfax Railroad Days event that happens every year.

While there, I purchased some fiber art from really cool people.

Beautiful mandala work from Bohemian Designs by Silvermoon Regalia (artist not pictured. She had to go take care of her children while her mother and husband manned the shop!)
Local folks having a laugh

Those both pics are from October, and a lot of the merch has been sold and replaced with new stuff – yay!

Taking a break from shoveling a track for the tires on our slanted driveway!
The view from the other side…

And this was Thanksgiving. Three hours of scraping and fighting to get the Subaru up the driveway – but I freakin’ did it! And I still managed to gain weight!?

What’s everyone else up to these days?

A Cheater Post

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, eyeglasses and closeup
In all the excitement of the travel and what-not, I forgot to mention here that I finally finished the Zweig sweater!

So, it begins. With the crafts season coming up in October, I’ve got to roll! I wanted to post something, so I did a video. Enjoy!

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

When’s the worst time to write about a beautiful Hawaiian vacation? Why, when you have a raging migraine, of course!

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 to 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

When life gets too good, one questions life

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

 

International Women’s Day, pt.2: Finding Sally Dawley

After posting the pic of Margaret Thatcher for the International Women’s Day tribute, I felt I should choose another candidate, one closer to home. I just met her two days ago, but her dedication to her cause has garnered kudos and international recognition and my respect.  Her name is Sally Dawley and she is affectionately known around these parts as “The Butt Lady of Auburn”.   This interesting moniker came about in 2014 when she started picking up butts along her daily walk and thus began her odyssey that continues today.

How I came to meet her has its own quirky story.  Don’t worry – I’ll make it brief!  I’m a big Trailer Park Boys fan and have a subscription to their Swearnet website and on their podcast episode #133, they congratulated Sally and asked for help contacting her because they want to talk to her themselves.  That was an unusual request – I’d never seen them do that before.  So, I thought, hey!  I live near Auburn, I’ve got free time, let’s find her!  A cursory Google search came up blank, Facebook zilch and even Duck-duck Go produced no results.  I now understood why the unusual request; she has absolutely zero web presence.  Thankfully, my first action of posting in the Auburn group on FB got me in touch with her.  Thanks everyone!

Our meeting was really unusual, and think about it;  to Sally, I’m some random stranger looking for her, who just wanted to let her know that a group of guys from Canada were looking for her.  Not suspicious at all.  It must have taken a leap of faith for her to call me.  I don’t know if I would have done the same!  When we finally talked the night before meeting, I had to explain that I am in no way affiliated with The Trailer Park Boys (they wouldn’t have me), only a fan who had time on her hands and likes helping people.  Weird, right?  The next morning I showed up at the appointed Starbucks, prepared with my laptop and headphones so she could see what had prompted all the furor.   Sally was amused by what she saw and was definitely game, and I thought, oh, great! mission accomplished.  Then we both looked at each other, and she asked, “What do we do now?”  I laughed and said I would give the appropriate people her phone number…in an e-mail.  She shook her head and explained she didn’t want that kind of information on the internet.  I ended up writing a letter to that effect, where, as far as I know, it’s sitting in someone’s inbox in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

When we were fairly comfortable with each other, we went out into the parking lot and, yes, you guessed it, picked up cigarette butts for about an hour.  Well, I got to use the clicker for the most part and she did the hard work.  During that time I found out that not only does she find butts while she’s out and about, she finds wallets, cash, (she’s collected $900 since 2014!), ponytail hair ties, and of course, used condoms.   And don’t worry if you drop your wallet with your credit cards, $1,000 cash and no ID – she’ll get it to you one or way or another.  She’s scrupulously honest that way, but if she finds a stray $20 here or there, the law of “Finders, Keepers” comes into play.

What saddened me and galvanized my respect for Ms. Dawley was that after about 20 minutes of picking up butts, the magnitude of what she was trying to accomplish hit me.  There was always another butt over there, by this fence post, trapped in the sidewalk cracks, underneath a truck trailer, disguised as dead leaf – it seemed endless.  I asked her if she’d noticed any difference in the volume of cigarette butts she was finding since she’d been receiving some notoriety and the city of Auburn had installed ashcans for smokers in public places.  She shook her head and said, “No, not really.”  Then she remarked how unusual it was to have someone helping her.  I was shocked at this point, and clarified if I’d understood her correctly, in that no one has ever helped her.  Nope.  I had heard it correctly.  Then I was really disappointed.  And really proud of her.  A lesser mortal would have given up well before the 1,000,000 mark.  As we were nearing the end of our time together, I asked her what message she wanted to get out, and she said, “For people to stop throwing their cigarettes everywhere.”  Ultimately, she wants everyone to stop smoking, but as seen through the eyes of this ex-smoker, that ain’t happening any time soon.  Besides the fact that it’s highly physically and psychologically addictive, it’s a tremendously personal decision and you’ve got to want to stop.

So next time you’re out on the town, or anywhere, for that matter, getting ready to toss your cigarette because you can’t find an appropriate place to put it, try field stripping.  That way, you’re less likely to find a cigarette butt in the stomach of the fish you caught that morning, you won’t have to worry so much about your dog eating a stray butt while you’re walking them and making them sick, the birds will have less to line their nests with and the landscape in general will start looking a lot better.

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