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!

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…

The Endless Scarf

Showing off the scarf length
We’re getting there! It’s a simple garter and moss stitch design and is going to be fab WHEN I finish it!

Pattern Detail
The basic pattern is here: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/mr-woodhouses-scarf

We’re halfway through March and the February blahs have followed me with dogged determination.  I have been working, very slowly, on a simple red scarf.  It should have been a week at the most  We are looking at a month right now – daaanng!  For those of you who are following the link, be aware that I only cast on 29 stitches and didn’t do a center piece.  Didn’t want to count all those rows.  I feel like I’ve been too busy; even writing this entry seems to be a great excuse to not knit or crochet!  Does anyone else have this waxing and waning pattern towards your yarn?  I know that when I’m finished with the scarf, I’ll be fired up to do something else.  I’ll be trying a new technique, working intarsia in the round.  I’ll definitely document it, even if I don’t finish it.  I’ll be doing “fan art”.  Christ, I’m 54, almost 55, and I’ll be making”fan art”.  What’s this world coming to?

Upside, my social media biz has grown; woo-hoo!  So far, I’m still doing trade instead of receiving money, because it seems everyone I take on has a product or service I need!  Tax-wise, it’s easier, and it’s definitely more friendly for new, local businesses that don’t have a budget or time to take care of their social media.  I feel it’s more…organic? primeval?  In any case, it’s the way I roll.

And speaking of rolls, around December 27th, after stuffing myself silly during the holidays, I reached my top weight.  No, I’m not going to mention it; suffice to say, I was not happy.  I didn’t want to do a New Year’s Resolution, because there is the new tradition, I’ve noticed, for the resolutions to fail.  Have you seen that?  Most people resolve to lose weight, but by February, they’ve given up.  And that means more weight gained over the course of the year, and another resolution to fail.  I didn’t want to do that.  So I began thinking of food differently the day I decided I was going to lose weight.  Nothing happened for the first month or so of me just eating less.  It wasn’t until I started counting my calories, which I really didn’t want to do, that I noticed a change.  I still have a ways to go, but I figure – eh.  What else are you going to do?  Any of you have New Year’s resolutions you’re still keeping? gave up?  Let me know!

 

 

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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