Hey, everybody. I hope this belated post finds you healthy and, if not exactly happy, at least not panicked. It’s been almost two weeks since my husband and I have returned stateside, and I have been seriously struggling with how to write this entry. I’m tired of grim; I’m tired of fear; I’m tired and extremely saddened to hear about people dying. I can’t even imagine what those families are going through.
So…how does one write a light-hearted vignette while ignoring the elephant in the middle of the room? Lets start with crafting – the blog is called Nittin’ Ninja, after all. I did have a few days where I totally ignored anything even remotely crafty, like when I was in Oahu. Understandable there. It’s just when I came back from the island a day early to fight a snowstorm to get home and discover we were without power for three days and all the media shitstorm about COVID-19 had people panic shopping so there wasn’t anything on the shelves. You would think that would be perfect for crafting, but it wasn’t. I couldn’t wrap my mind around anything wonderful or artistic. I felt totally numb.
But…I realized I needed to catch up on my temperature blanket- I was already 8 days behind. I had to keep making my blanket. So I picked it up, and three days at a time, I caught it up – tada! While playing catch-up, I also started work once again on this cute crochet top I had started while in Oahu.
And then, to make things feel almost a little more normal – but not really – I received a skein of ooey, gooey, squishy fingering weight yarn I’d ordered before Hawai’i. Yay!!!
So, still not normal, but definitely better. I do need to mention that while in Oahu I made some new yarn friends.
You may notice that there are Christmas decorations interspersed with all the wonderful yarn? The owner, Sylvia Kruse, has merged two concepts here, and strangely enough, it works. Check out her FB page Yarn & Needlecraft Strictly Christmas!I think for the rest of the post, I’m going to do like I did last time and throw some pics out there for you to enjoy and call it quits for today! Aloha!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
First round – I beat all these guys!
The one pic I got of them – knitted hats in my left hand
My favorite gambling game
You had to be there…
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.
Breakfast room service
Bubbles and The Shit Rockers
Awesome photoshopped group pic
The obligatory bathroom shot – LOL!
My favorite dealer
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.
Watching the tugs work on a freighter was actually interesting. Even in a dirty port, the water looked cerulean.
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 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.
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.