Sad News

Necessary mittens

Necessary mittens

It’s February and this winter has gone on forever.  Normally, I’m a real fan of cold weather.  I look forward to having a crackling fire going in our stove or playing outside in the snow and having an excuse to knit or crochet almost nonstop.  Of course, this month is generally when the blahs kick in and I can’t get excited about anything, but this year the constant rain and darkness and worry is creating a different feel to my usually scheduled February lassitude.

On Sunday, my mother-in-law passed away (see Of Flooding and Exploding Dryers).   That was way ahead of schedule.  My husband was shocked, naturally, but also because he had just talked to his mother only a few days ago and she hadn’t indicated things were any worse.  As to the why my husband and I had this erroneous notion that her death was in some mid-long distant future, I can’t really say.  Maybe because she appeared to be relatively healthy and mobile when we saw her last month, or maybe, truly, we just didn’t want her to go.  Since this notion created a warped sense of of time, preparations that should have been made earlier were all of a sudden upon us.  We’ve spent the last several days making travel arrangements, funeral arrangements, buying clothes and so much more that I can’t think straight – and there’s still a lot more to do.  As I lie here in bed, typing this entry in the dark, I hear the wind whipping up the trees and hope this won’t delay any travel plans for tomorrow because I am ready for this to be over.

Our new fur baby, Nicky, playing with his recently adopted brother, the chocolate lab, Mario.

Our new fur baby, Nicky, playing with his recently adopted brother, the chocolate lab, Mario.

In the meantime, life goes on.  I’ve managed to make a few more hats for sell, make our new little rescue fur baby a doggie vest and I’m working, slowly, on a pair of mittens.

What are you working on?  I need some good news, dear readers!

*Name changed for privacy.

Ain't he a little stinker?

Ain’t he a little stinker?

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Cold and Flu Season

As I sit here in the perpetual twilight of my house that is a Northern California winter, clacking away on the laptop, I let out a deep, bronchial

Oh, yea. I feel pretty.

Oh, yea. I feel pretty.  And yes, I have a great RBF.

cough that seems to reach back 10 years.  Oh, yea.  Hurts so good…  As the title suggests, this is about being sick.  Kinda.  Not really.  It’s just a segue.  But read on anyway.

I expect one cold a year, and this one is early.  They normally show up around January or February, so whatever this is, it was in a hurry.  Probably trying to run its rounds before the upcoming election.  (Ha!  Can’t get around that impending disaster about now.  And I also can’t shake the feeling that we’re being played to, and that the actors cast for their particular roles are not very good.)

So back to me, because this is my blog.

Have you ever started a project, let it set for years, brought it out, put it back and let it molder for another few years, and repeated that cycle?  Oh, you haven’t?  Well, bless you!  Because this project has loitered around my consciousness for close to a decade.  Sometimes it’s in the forefront, where I believe I’ll actually bring it out to play, the other times, it sits dormant for years, and then I’ll see something that reminds me, Oh, yea.  I need to work on that.  In an effort to get the damned thing done, I’ve brought it out of its hiding place in the upstairs closet, put it next to the stove in the family room and waited for inspiration to strike.  This ploy has worked a bit.  I’ve brought out my paints and dabbled here and there.

Like my knitting and crocheting, I prefer to work on my projects in a linear fashion, i.e., one project at a time, and if I’m stuck on one particularly difficult task, everything gets backed up.  So for close to 10 freakin’ years my painting groove has been backed up.  Must not be a serious thing for me, because you’d think I’d move on.  Honestly, I have sneaked in a painting or two since…actually several.  They went to a good friend of mine, Miss Pamela Fein (images not available), and my mother, who usually gets any decent* painting of mine.  Ok.  You got me.  I have been painting a little on the side, but I feel like this unfinished still life has been choking me and needs to be done.  Now.

Which brings me back to the sickness.  I’m over the worst of it, I hope, because I’m starting to drain.  I don’t feel like dancing a jig or going out to the costume tonight (damnit!  My husband and I were going to dress up as Bob and Linda Belcher.), but I do feel like…painting.  Being sick has forced me to stay indoors, where I would usually knit or crochet, but not today.

You may be asking yourself, Glenda, why are you telling us?  I would initially shrug my shoulders and play ignorant, but in all honesty, I think I need a boost.  What’s your long-running project that you finished?  What was it that made you think, Ok.  We’re done with having this hanging around, let’s finish it!  Was it writing?  Painting?  Crafting?  Woodworking?  Tell me!!  I want to hear your story.

See? We're almost there. Kinda.

See? We’re almost there. Kinda.

*Don’t judge!

You’re Not Alone

You may have noticed the my blog posts, as of late, have been mostly food entries and many of you crocheters and knitters may be thinking I’ve done a bait-and-switch move.

I assure you that is not the case.

January and February have brought about a general lassitude, especially when it comes to my knitting.  I would compare the progress on my latest project, Lion Brand’s Curvy Girl Cowl Neck Tunic, to that of a snail; however,  I have yet to see a snail move backward and then forward again along the same slime track!  Yes, I have been frogging in an inordinate amount.  Again, I accredit this lack of attention and sloppiness to the general lassitude.  I would also invite you to look at other knitting or crocheting blogs, and you will see a pattern (pun intended).  Feel Good Knitting has posted about her February Blah, and The Sweaty Knitter about her procrastination in Still Kneading, Not Knitting and I know I’ve run across others that slip my mind.  You see?  It happens to all of us, but to some, it’s very specifically this time of year. mr. frog

So, I leave you with this, dear readers, an image of my current project with yet another frog in progress while lying atop two more projects that await to be started and/or finished.

Word of the Day:  

lassitude

  • formal + medical : the condition of being tired : lack of physical or mental enery

Lessons Learned

It looked innocent enough when it first started.

It looked innocent enough when it first started.

Talk about counting your blessings!  I am so blessed to be sitting at the dining room table with a roaring fire in the fireplace as I tap out my story.  If you’re a regular reader, then you’re probably scratching your head wondering why I’m beginning my yarn with a genuine sentiment of gratitude.  It’s not everyday that one has, shall we say, an adventure.

For several days I had been aware of the winter storm warning coming our way in Northern California.  Not being familiar with Sierra Nevada snow, (it’s wet, not dry) I thought we would be fine.  Ok.  So I shall refine that statement even further; not being accustomed to any kind of snow storm driving (yes, I’ve driven on snowy roads AFTER the fact) and I didn’t expect to be driving in any kind of snow… well, you see where I’m going.  So many times before snow had been forecast and never happened.  I figured, at best, we’d get a light cover.  When the snow started falling a little early, it looked benign enough.  My husband, Rick, said we should go to the store and get some salt to put on the driveway.  Why we waited for the snow to start falling, I don’t know.

We took a 20 minute drive to get some water softener salt (not the correct kind *sigh*) and leisurely took our time back, making sure we stopped by the local Starbucks to get some holiday coffee to go along with our holiday snow.  The young man at the window expressed grave concerns about the storm.  You see, he lived there.  He knew.  We shrugged off his warnings and started the last leg of our trek.  Or so we thought.

Our house is located at the top of the hill in our neighborhood.  There are some steep inclines which make for rigorous walking and interesting driving in mild weather conditions, so when we rounded the familiar turn onto our street, we were a bit concerned by the amount of snow accumulation, but not overly so.  We could make it easily in our Toyota Yaris.  Mind you, it’s a great little gadabout car, but as we were to discover, it’s not meant to plow snow!  We lost all traction only halfway up the hill.  I even draped myself across the hood to hopefully give the tires more pull on the road.  Not happening.  After a moment’s thought, Rick decided it was time to go get some snow chains for the tires.

After a few phone calls, we located a shop back in Auburn, where we could purchase the chains for our car and our daughter’s car.  (She lives with us.)  She also had a Toyota Yaris*, same year, same trim, different color.  She was working in Rocklin and wasn’t going to get off until 10:30 that evening.  We thought it would be nice of us to not only get her the much needed chains but to help her when the time came to put them on.  The instructions looked easy enough.

While we dawdled at the local Barnes and Noble in Roseville, both Rick and I noticed that it was raining non-stop.  I kept checking the weather app on my phone and realized that it was snowing all this time up in Colfax where we live.  Not only that, my phone was running out power.  I was really starting to get worried.  My stomach felt tight and I was getting jittery.  Normally, we enjoy our trips to Barnes and Noble, but the time could not pass fast enough for us.  We needed to get home.  When 10:30 did arrive, we were waiting for Rachel.  Rick decided it would be better if he drove with her and I would follow in my car.

And the journey began.

It was smooth sailing for some time, and I thought, briefly, that we had been worried for nothing.  Then we hit Auburn and snow.  Real snow.  Snow so dense that the road markings are obscured and everyone is driving slower.  We were cruising about 30 mph, still too fast for our limited experience and weather conditions when Rachel’s car started sliding all over the road.  I barely had time to think to myself, Oh shit! when my car lost traction.  I very carefully applied the brakes to see what that would get me.  I know, you’re not supposed to do that, but I lucked out.  I was able to make contact with something solid and pull over to the side of the road with my hazard lights blinking and safely stop.  I looked around for Rick and Rachel and was shocked and relieved to see the car resting against a snow drift next to the center median, pointing the opposite direction.  The late night traffic was thin, so no harm had befallen anyone, just our nerves!  After a few moments, they carefully pulled up behind where I was.

Time for the chains.  As usual, when purchasing a new product that is to be used in inclement weather, practice is required.  Having purchased said items only a few hours before and NOT having practiced, the outcome was less than desired.  No chains on the tires.

We carefully pulled off the interstate at the next off-ramp and pulled over.  What to do?  I thought of my car insurance and the towing package.  They could rescue us! For the the first time since I’ve had a car (that’s been a long time, you guys) I was using the roadside assistance number.  It took about 5 minutes to get a live person, all the while, my phone’s battery is getting lower and showing amber.  And no, I didn’t have a phone charger.  I do now.  We would have to wait an hour and a half for any assistance.  I expected that.  I invited Rick and Rachel to join me in my car so we could at least keep each other company.  Besides, I always carry water and a blanket with me.

For awhile we had fun, chatting and laughing, and checking the occasional auto that drove by to see if it was the tow truck.  After about an hour, I got a phone call from my auto insurance saying they couldn’t get hold of anyone local.  At all.  It was also about this time that a helpful police officer pulled over to ask if we were okay.  From him we got the information that the interstate east of Applegate was closed to all but four-wheel, tire-chained traffic.  So no rescue was forthcoming.  He advised us to sit tight until morning.  Rick joined me in my car and Rachel got in hers and we tried to sleep.  Correction: they slept and I fidgeted.  I heard the snow plows working the streets, the chains on trucks slapping the asphalt, Rick’s snoring, and I watched the snow stop drifting down.  After awhile, a snow plow worker stopped in front of us and asked to move.  Since the the landscape had been covered in drifts, we unknowingly parked right in the middle of a road.  I asked him if he knew of the road conditions further up the interstate, and he said they had been cleared all the way up to Colfax; further than that, he didn’t know.  That was good enough for me.

We got back on the highway and slowly, ever so slowly, made our way up to Applegate where we found some opportunists – bless their hearts!  They installed our chains for an exorbitant fee and we carried on, feeling a bit more secure.  We were able to make it back to our neighborhood where the snow was deep and thick.  After plowing through the drifts for about 15 minutes, we couldn’t go any further.  We were back at our old spot that stopped us 11 hours before.  Rachel disembarked there to hike up to the house, while we backed down to the entrance, found spots that wouldn’t get in the way of a plow or driveway, and walked the mile home.  In deep snow.  Uphill.  In my new heeled boots.

Snow still on the boots!  Turned out, they weren't so bad for the walk.

Snow still on the boots! Turned out, they weren’t so bad for the walk. The snow was deeper than the water lines…my pants were drenched!

It took us 30 minutes to make the trek home.  I could see where Rachel had fallen several times and I couldn’t help but laugh.  I was disappointed that my phone was pretty much dead so I couldn’t take any pictures.  They would have been great, but Rachel would have been steaming.  When we arrived panting and warm and so tired, the doggies came out to greet us.  They had probably been confused that we would leave all the lights on and the television running and the homemade chicken straining in the sink for so long.  And why hadn’t I fed them dinner?

Surprisingly, everything kept while we were gone, so all I had to do was finish up for a wonderful warming chicken noodle soup!

Surprisingly, everything kept while we were gone, so all I had to do was finish up for a wonderful warming chicken noodle soup!

I fed the dogs, took off my shoes, continued making the homemade chicken noodle soup, took a picture or two with the wrong lens (didn’t want to make the extra trip upstairs to get the wide-angle) and went to bed at 7:30 am.

Taken just as the sun was coming up.  Not as cold as I would have thought.

Taken just as the sun was coming up. Not as cold as I would have thought.

Lessons learned:

1.  Learn how to put on snow chains in the summer!

2.  Have plenty of melting salt on hand.   We live in an area that does get snow occasionally.

3.  Continue to carry water and a blanket.  Possibly a snack or two in the glove compartment.

4.  Unless absolutely necessary, stay indoors.  No driving around!

*As soon as we could safely pull out of the driveway, Rachel took her Yaris down to the nearest Subaru dealer and traded it in on an all-wheel drive Forester!