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….

Advertisements

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Of Flooding and Exploding Blow Dryers

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We’ve all heard the expression “When it rains, it pours.”  January was a monsoon for me.

It actually started mid-December with the news of my mother-in-law’s stage IV stomach cancer diagnosis.  With a six-month timeline, Elke* has opted to receive hospice care.  All her life she’s dealt with cancer.  It started in her late 20s, returned in her 40s, again in her late 60s, and with this last bit of news, she said she’s done.  Prognosis was not good to begin with, and she just didn’t want to go through the “cure” again.  Her husband, John*, has been displaying signs of dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease.  He had to be reminded who we were, and yet, most cruel, he’s aware of it right now.  They live in Texas, three and a half states over, and timing was not good.  But it had to be done.

The journey back to Texas was odd.  Any road trip I’ve taken before has always been a good thing.  My husband and I made the most of it, since it was three days hard travel.  My sister, who lives in Bakersfield, was gracious enough to let us use her place as flop house.  We literally spent less than 15 minutes talking to her before we headed for bed, and then in the morning, we hugged one and another and moved on, both going and coming back.  The second day out, I wrote some errant thoughts.  Those long drives gives a person way too much time to think.

January 4, 2017, Wednesday

When the sun is rising, the errant contrail casts a shadow on the higher clouds

Driving east along Interstate 10 to Texas

Don’t know how to feel

Sedimentary, layered mountains Las Cruces

Texas landscape out of El Paso flat

Scrub brush

Minimal traffic

Can use cruise control – indefinitely

Occasional butte, rolling hills

Road stretches out in front of you in gentle, undulating waves

Cerulean sky, painted with high altitude stratus clouds

Harmless, no rain

When sun is setting, the color of the western sky shifts from blue to lavender, then gradually to a dusky plum, all but obscuring the horizon, then gradually, deep purple to the black of night.

Headlights

On the third morning of our visit, I was drying my hair, when my blow-dryer of at least 10 years decides to go out with a bang.  Sparks flew and I had to unplug it to stop the sparks from turning into flames.  The acrid smell of burnt electronics filled our hotel room for at least a day.  I felt it was appropriate, somehow, that it should happen at that time; however, I had spent the night before crying, so it was possible I was just upset.  Saying good bye to something else, even something as replaceable as a minor appliance, really set me off.

When driving back, we ran into the storms in Northern California that we’d been monitoring even before we left.  It was an eye-opener to see the areas around Sacramento, flooded by water that had overrun the bank of the Cosumnes River.  Sacramento has the American and the Sacramento Rivers to deal with and the levies around the city are monitored more closely.  What I photographed was the Cosumnes River gone a bit wild, just south of Elk Grove, a suburb of SacTown.  And then from Highway 99 North to I80 East, up around Applegate, the trucks were pulled over because the road over Donner Pass was closed due to snow.

I was so grateful to be home…because our garage was flooding.  We got some more sandbags (don’t ask) and cleaned up what we could.  Thanks goodness the foundation is concrete, and no real damage was done.

On a lesser, but more immediate note, my husband’s car has stopped running.  The money we would have used to fix that was spent visiting his mother.  It sits in the front of the house, ads running on Facebook, Letgo and Craigslist with no results.  I guess no one wants a mechanic’s project at this time.

There is more to the story, but I will leave it.  Sometimes it’s good not to tell so much, and this is one of those instances.

*names changed for privacy

That Didn’t Last Long

In my last post, I talked of eating less meat.  At this point, I would like to quote one of my all-time favorite movies,

I never noticed the pumpkins in the background until right now...whoa.

I never noticed the pumpkins in the background until right now…whoa.

The Outlaw Josie Wales, when the character Granny Hawkins, who was sitting in her rocking chair on the porch and sucking on her cob pipe, remarked to wildly overblown stories about our anti-hero while showing off her lovely gums (no teeth – where did Clint Eastwood find these actors?) “All that big talk don’t mean doodly-squat.”

I even had Baked Broccoli With Macaroni and Cheese

I even had Baked Broccoli With Macaroni and Cheese

I had about four or five days where I was good, people.  Good.  I thought, yes, I’m ready.  Now is the time to cut myself back to lean meats when I eat them, about twice a week.

So my actively and unashamedly carnivore daughter tells me of a new deli in Grass Valley that also serves take-away food.  They do organic, vegan, vegetarian, gluten free food options high quality meats and cheeses and…yeah.  You don’t even have to see the pictures to know who fell off their self-imposed semi-vegetarian diet.  Ah.  At least it was for tremendously good meat.  These pictures really don’t do them any justice, and this was just what we bought on the day.

What’s worse, they’re friendly(!).  And they’re busy.  And they’re Italian.  You see what I mean?  They also sell local goodies.  They’ll be there for awhile.  You may also be scratching your head, thinking, Glenda, you said they offer vegetarian options.  Yea, yea, yea.  Hush.  So those of you wishing to cut back on your meat consumption, this is La Gastronomia in Grass Valley, California.  Bwa haha!

Now I have two places I consider superb that are local.  The other restaurant I speak of also deserves its own post, so I’ll get to that later.

Lesson learned?  From failure comes great discovery!

See you in the funny pages.

Cuddly Colfax Bear Hooded Cowl

1546176_737553206329839_7123790170351236806_nHey everybody!  As I sit here in my home, sipping a lovely butterscotch latte, I’m feeling quite magnanimous.  Also, I figured since it’s been over a month since I posted any freebie patterns, that it’s about time.  I am especially endeared to this pattern as I was inspired by local surroundings.  I feel fortunate to live in the great state of California, and really lucky that I am a native.  I also understand that many of you who live elsewhere have a dim view of my beloved home based on the reports of others, or you had a bad experience yourself (just to remind you, those happen everywhere).  I currently reside in the scenic Sierra Nevada Mountain range, where bears, mountain lions, deer, raccoon, foxes, coyotes, etc., roam free.  I know they’re in our neighborhood because they leave little “gifts” in the most conspicuous places, but I don’t really mind because I love being here.  Besides, I’m already picking up after my dogs and cats, what’s a little wildlife scat going to hurt?

Anyway, after all that, here’s a link to the pattern and for those of you who don’t crochet or just don’t want to be bothered I have included a link to my online shop, as usual.  I also keep all my patterns and some others I find online on my Crafting Links tab, where it’s broken down into Knit and Crochet patterns.  If you just click the tab with choosing from the drop down menu, there is a form where you can upload your own pattern.  Enjoy!

Pattern

Etsy

Writing 101: Size Matters

Writing 101: Size Matters.

Every so often I will respond to these daily challenges, depending on my mood, the specific assignment and how I feel.  I guess I felt I had to respond to this, even though, in comparison, my comment was rather succint.  I said all I wanted to at the time!

I lived in a bright, little yellow house for the first 17 years of my life with my mother and my sister. I would imagine 12 is in there somewhere…When my mother first rented the place, she told me the neighborhood was very blue collar and quite comfortable. Right around my 12 year mark, I recall changes in our neighbors. Low-rent apartments were built and suddenly, we had to start locking our doors. And it wasn’t a whole slew of people, just a few that made life what it was because they were dicks. After that, of course, the real estate principle of regression kicked in, and we were compelled to move later on. But 12 was still a relatively good time.”

Has this happened to anyone else?