The Five Hour Trip to Nowhere

Sometimes the best laid plans of mice and (wo)men can be detoured; and by detoured, I mean literally.  I was all packed up, ready for a visit to my family down in South Hell Bakersfield; knitting and camera bags were all ready.  I kissed the dogs good-bye, since everyone else had already left for their respective workplaces, and mentally prepared myself for a six hour drive down the valley after leaving the beauty of the mountains.  It was a Thursday morning, and I was actually running on schedule.  For those of you who know me, I’m never on time.  There’s always something else I have to attend to, and there you are – I’m late.  But not today.  The sun was shining, the weather was moderate and it was time to leave.

In the first hour I buzzed down to Sacramento in good form, listening to KKDO 94.7 and thinking of what would most likely be dinner that night.  When the family gets together, my sister likes to cook monstrous Mexican meals with equally

This is way calmer and neater than what I generally observe!

This is way calmer and neater than what I generally observe!

monstrous messes; the kids all run around even while eating, my mother stands in the middle of the hurricane, working that senior card with her hearing aids turned off, my sister yells at everyone to help, get out of the way or clean up, and I just sit like a lump at the dining room table observing everything, somewhat like an ethnographer out in the field.  And that’s generally every night I visit.  I can’t vouch for when I’m gone, but I imagine it’s the same.

While visions of family mayhem dance through my head in rhythm to the music on the radio, I start noticing brake lights coming on.  That’s never good when you’re doing 75 mph on a highway.  I follow suit and slow down, and hope the drivers behind me are paying attention.  I’ve been rear-ended several times, each while I was stopped in traffic.  Don’t want to repeat that.  Good.  Everyone’s paying attention.  The traffic is moving, but at a slower rate, and I notice a traffic marquis all lit up and pretty, telling all of us southbound travelers on Highway 99 must divert to I-5.  Ok.  That will add 30 minutes to my total travel time, but fine.  So I resolve myself to a little delay.  The traffic gradually slows to a crawl, then we’re stop and go.  I know, I know, you’re not supposed to text while driving, but believe me, this isn’t driving.  We’re stopped.  After I check my android to discover that there aren’t any alternate routes out of this snarl, I think, oh, well.  I’ll be an hour late.  sigh 

Two hours later and the traffic looks like this:

We're still trying to connect to I-5.

We’re still trying to connect to I-5.

The traffic jam has been rerouted, very slowly, onto a little back road to go around the incident, but its one lane is not intended for this volume of cars, and we’ve moved a tops of two miles.  I’m also texting my family to let them know what’s going on, when my mom tells me they’re in the middle of a flash flood warning.  Ok.  I think I’ve had enough signs for one day.

I pull off at the first turn out, text my regrets and get back on the road to Highway 99, which takes me all of five minutes.  I head north, back toward home.  I’m tense and just a little upset that after all that time I only got as far as Elk Grove.  It’s 12:10 pm and, according to my past drives, I would have been approaching Fresno, about halfway there.  Instead, I sat idling in the increasingly warm sun, burning up gas.

Feeling a bit blue, I realize that I’ll be driving past one of my favorite craft stores, Jo-Ann’s.  My mood starts to lighten and the trip out here seems not so fruitless.  Yea, yarn!  I get a little groovy to the music and look up ahead to see brake lights coming on…yet again.  I feel the frustration welling up.  I can’t go anywhere – !  I’m stuck!  I’m sure I hit my steering wheel I was so mad, and that brought me back.  I calmed down and after a few minutes, the traffic cleared up.  But it wasn’t to be the last gaggle of the day.  Just as I was approaching Jo-Ann’s, I ran into another

Again...

Again…

glitch that delayed my sojourn yet another few minutes.  At this point I am very glad I live in a small town where the traffic, though insanely crazy for the small population, never gives me more than a few moments wait.

The visit here was like a balm to my frazzled nerves.

The visit here was like a balm to my frazzled nerves.

So I popped into Jo-Ann’s, and by “popped”, I mean lingered for about an hour or so, purchased some yarn that I didn’t need and continued home, but on the back roads.  I was done with the ineffective highways and interstates for the day.  When I pulled into my driveway, it was close to 3:00 pm, the time I was originally expected in Bakersfield.

Have you ever had one of those days?

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The New Project Progress and a Freebie Pattern

A more stylized view of this delicious yarn!

A more stylized view of this delicious yarn!

About 1/3 of the way through my Autumn Wrap and I’m already doubting myself yet again.  I’m

Basket weave!

Basket weave!

not sure I like the color combos.  I adore the colors, but the way I’m putting them together just doesn’t seem to click.  Before I get too rash and throw away what I have done so far – ahem! – I will use all the colors and see how I like it then.  I understand that sometimes you need to have a little faith in your vision.  Maybe I’m jittery because this is the first time I have ever used two yarns at once and made the very simple basketweave pattern?  I don’t know.  We shall persevere.

On a more decidedly upbeat note, I have finally written down the pattern for my cute little baby booby beanie.  Back in December of 2014, I posted a pic of this:

Baby Booby Breastfeeding Beanie - sorry about the alliteration!

Baby Booby Breastfeeding Beanie – sorry about the alliteration!

I promised to post the pattern.  Being that it was December, my crafting life was definitely busy, and this simple little project was put aside.  It’s simple and quick and makes a great gift for the expectant/breastfeeding mother.  I’m sure you could also make this as a gag gift for an adult, but you’ll have to figure that out yourself – LOL!  The instructions are for up to 12 months.  Click on the picture to get the pattern, or go to the Crafting Links under Crochet and find it as Baby Booby Beanie.

Enjoy!

Change of Schedule

Yuuup.  That's me all right!

Yuuup. That’s me all right!

In my last post I announced I was looking for a group of crafters to do a Crochet-A-Long on a simple afghan. Something easy.  I received a few likes, but no comments.  I took that to mean a  group of polite onlookers, which would be cool also; but, summer is bearing down upon me and I’ve found myself in a Hawaiian mood.  No, I’ve never been, and yes, I want to go.  I want a plumeria lei and a hibiscus tucked behind my ear, to take the pineapple field tours, walk the beautiful black sand beaches at sunset, go to a luau and drink cocktails with pretty umbrella toothpicks.  I want to be at the peak of Mauna Kea and see the curvature of the earth as the sun peeks over the ocean horizon and to pay incredibly inflated prices at the local McDonald’s because everything is shipped from the mainland.   And let us not forget the muumuus and brilliantly colored Hawaiian shirts.  I even want to hear the strains of Don Ho complementing the relaxing sounds of the waves susurrating as I recline on the beach in the middle of the day…underneath a huge umbrella with layers of SPF 50 sensitive skin lotion still shining whiter than my legs with its zinc content.  But most of all, I want to see the Kilauea Volcano erupt its low silicone, high basaltic lava and create the a’a rocks, so named because the natives cut their feet on the sharp edges of the cooled surface.  I also want to see the pahoehoe lava, so smooth it looks like a pudding set in the shape of ropes.  I want to see the lava drip into a steaming surf from a recently created shelf.  I. Want. To. Go.

Returning to reality, the odds are that I will never make it.

Yes, my shoulders slumped forward as I thought of this.

But that won’t stop me from being inspired by the tiny island state with a big heart that has stolen mine, sight unseen.  (Pictures don’t count!)  In choosing the yarn, I thought of the personality of the state, and the first thing that came to mind was:  relaxation.  I don’t know about you, but knitting something inspired by Hawaii could not be done in wool.  There are a few island nations where this does apply, of course, such as Great Britain and Iceland.  Wool is highly recommended there.  Hawaii?  It had to be one of three choices:  cotton, bamboo, silk.  For economy’s sake, I went with cotton.  No more $60 tank tops here…ahem.  If I stopped making those, maybe I could afford Hawaii!

Progression of color scheme

Progression of color scheme

When it came to colors, I wanted to stay with the relaxed personality range and I used my “go to” colors, blue and green, added some purple and a bit of white.  Continuing with the serene, easy-going theme, I have decided to make this a simple box – no ribbing, no shaping, no sleeves, with a little twist.  How I’m going to accomplish the one aspect of this is beyond me, but I’ll manage.

In the meantime, I will keep the afghan on the back burner.

Aloha!

The Smell of Gasoline and the Stress of Not Knowing

All right, you guys: fess up. I am not the only regular, non-whiffing human who really enjoys that first sniff of gasoline when it’s being pumped into the tank.  You know, that first little hint, and then it become overpowering and you’re done.

My heinous secret!

My heinous secret!

I’ve told others of this, and I’m always looked at askance, like, “Ahh…that explains it!”  For all you smart asses out there, it’s not a recreational thing, I don’t huff/whiff/whatever, because it’s something I’ve honestly never thought of doing, even if it wasn’t illegal.  Yuck.  Even when I was a young hot-head looking to experiment with mind-altering…uh…experiences, this was never an option.  Ever.

And I cannot be the only one who has this olfactory quirk.

So what does this have to do with the stress of not knowing?  Well, it’s a tenuous connection at best, but I know that whenever I’m fueling my car, I can always expect that little, secret pleasure.  As fun and/or miserable as life can be with all its whacky twists and turns, it’s nice to know that if, in a
very particular circumstance, you do a, it equals b, not f or qx!

As for what I’m stressing on, in my last post I said we had pulled out of escrow on one house because a house I really wanted had come back on the market.  We were one of two bids on the house, and we didn’t have any contingencies, they did, and we were waiting to hear back from our realtor.  We were fairly confident that our bid would be the winning one and were mentally re-designing the kitchen, which colors the walls need to be painted and in general talking about what we’d need to do to make the house really slick and cool (you know,when you first move into a new house and you have all these great ideas, and only 10% of these go through as planned!)  Imagine my surprise when the next day our realtor called to let us know that the other offer had been accepted, even though it was a lower bid, because they wrote a sob story about their children needing a home.  Son of a b…well, you know.

The owners of the house I’m currently renting are really cool.  As a former home owner and landlord/lady/whatever, myself, I have always kept them abreast of what is going on, especially with the house hunt, because it’s a good thing.  And not only that, Staci has some of the most photogenic children I know, and you’ve probably seen them modeling my stuff in earlier posts.  She has been a sympathetic ear throughout the process, but she didn’t know that the amount we qualified for had been raised, because I didn’t think it was worth mentioning.  So when she heard of my latest disappointment, she texted me back and said, “I wish you could just buy the house!”  After several back and forths and all sorts of other stuff that would bore you, we are know in escrow to buy the house we’ve always wanted from the beginning, the one we’re already living in and loving.

With our track record going here, I’m on pins and needles.  I expect something to be too much, such as insurance.  Homeowners insurance here is quite dear, because we’re right in the middle of the forest during one of the worst droughts in California history and summer brings a rash of forest fires that puts one on their toes during this time.  This is included in our monthly payment.  That’s what is worrying me.  I have several insurance agents searching for a not so god-awful expensive policy.  I am keeping my fingers crossed!

As for my knitting, I’m plodding along at a snail’s pace, snatching what time I have to do a couple of

Figuring out how long to make the ears and how to place them.

Figuring out how long to make the ears and how to place them.

rounds and then regretfully, putting it back in my yarn satchel.  Yes, I have a yarn satchel for my WIPs, don’t you?  Even though this is a relatively easy knit, because I’m making so many modifications to the original pattern, written by Cassidy Clark, it moves very slowly.  Backing up, doing knitting math, and seriously trying to envision what you’re going after.  These take time.  Hopefully, I will have a bunny wabbit that looks somewhat cuddly.

See you in the funny pages!

 

House Hunting and Teddy Bear Pattern

I’ve been terribly lax about posting anything these days and I apologize.  I’ve been in the middle of house hunting and knitting teddies.

The housing market these days – shees!  It’s definitely more of a seller’s market vs. a buyers market, and that’s been stressing me out.  I can’t speak for anyone else’s home buying experience, but living in California, you have a window of time to buy for the best value, but not especially the largest selection, and that’s in winter to very early spring.  We are on the cusp right now, and I have found a home I want to buy…after pulling out of escrow on another home I wanted to buy but thought better of only one week into the process.  Now that I’ve read that, I guess the market isn’t that skimpy on selection if I’ve been able to find two houses I like well enough to put in escrow!  Anyway, tortuous.

In the meantime, I’ve tried some new knitting techniques for myself and in the process have created  a cute little teddy!  Just click on the link for the pattern.  arrow

In the designer’s defense, I did make some modifications to her pattern and ended up arms a bit longer than I would have preferred, however, I am overall impressed and pleased with the toy.  Thinking of sending little Teddy off to my niece!

So wish me luck on my house hunt.  Hopefully, we’ll find out soon enough if our bid is accepted.

I Just Don’t Get Socks!

A great palette...

A great palette…

I’ve been crocheting a lot these days.  A lot.  In fact, every project I do seems to be crochet.  I love crocheting because it moves so fast, it’s easy, and versatile.  Because of the larger portion of my crafts appears to be crochet, I’m wondering if I should have come up with a different business name such as “Crocheting Crook” or “Hookin’ Mama”.  You see why I went with Nittin’ Ninja….  Anyway, I got to a point where I just came to a stop.  Writers call it a block, runners call it a wall, and I don’t know what else anyone calls it other than I got stuck.  I was working on a cute little zebra outfit for a baby photo prop and I got stumped on how to create a cute face.  Needless to say, I haven’t done the ears or the obligatory braids, but I truly couldn’t come up with a likeable  muzzle, and button eyes were just a big nothing.  Maybe I need to get the mane and ears on and every thing else will fall into place.  See what I mean?  So I’m done for awhile because…

unnamed (1)

We’ve only just begun.

I have started knitting another pair of socks.  For those of you who have read any of my previous entries while I’ve been working on socks, you’re probably rolling your eyes.  Why, Glenda?  Why are you starting another pair?  Because I want to learn socks!  I’ve knit five pairs and used three different patterns in order to get a good fit, and possibly to understand the whole process.  I recently purchased “Sock Knitting: Master Class” by Ann Budd and intend to use that…after I finish these socks!  My problem lies in the short rows, the gusset and whatever else.  These areas are always talked about, but for some reason, it ain’t gellin’.  I figure if I keep following a pattern and keep trying, I’ll remember and one day it’s going to make sense – BOOYAH!  LOL.

How did you guys overcome any learning disabilities, crafts related or otherwise?

See you in the funny pages.

Down Time

I don’t know…socks and me are maybe not such a good combo.  I believe I have found a good sock pattern that I’ll actually be able to use on my feet during business hours; HOWEVER, I’m 70% finished with the pair, and I’m stalling.  I have all these wonderful ideas backed on my project list – you know, the one we all keep in our head (writing it out didn’t help) – just clamoring for me to get started.  And I refuse, repeat, refuse to have more than one project going at a time.  This leads to anarchy and chaos…in my crafting life, at least.  I’ve even dressed up the socks by not following a color pattern and just doing random stripes color changes, but to no avail.  It lies dormant in my customized projects back, the zipper hiding my shame from me.  If I put all my efforts forth from the point on, I could have them ready for wear by tomorrow.  *sigh*

Well, at least all this inactivity is giving the carpal tunnel in my left hand a break.

In the meantime, the drought continues unabated here in California and my wonderful pine meadows are all dried and withered.  The dogs don’t seem to mind too much; they just roll around in the dirt, flinging their legs this way and that.  That of course, leads to wasting more water because I now have filthy dogs that cannot go back in the house.  It all evens out in the end.