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Friday, February 28, 2014

-10, and I think I'm loving it.

It's amazing how much cozier minus 10 feels when you have a foot of snow on the ground to go with it. Last night on my way home from the Clever Ewe knit night I saw minus 15 in a low lying wet area around that park I had pictures of previously. The creek there overflowed the road and made a sheet of ice that I bit it on good. Didn't hurt my car or hit anything like the guy behind me did. After I did a  540 degree spin in the middle of the road and let my car roll to a stop I went and helped him dig himself our of the berm. The guy coming the other way that saw our ice capades stopped assisted us, and his teenage son didn't pay much attention to how slick the road was as cars spun across it and fell on his butt. It was kind of funny. Glad I wasn't going the speed limit. The roads were very nasty yesterday so I had already slowed it down myself which saved me I think. Obviously not far enough, but enough to not hurt myself or worse, someone else.
It dropped yesterday and we got lake effect snow for parts of the day as you can see from are river walk in Rockford earlier in the day here. You can't really see how hard it's snowing other than the blurred trees getting lost in the snow. It was a nice little blast.
The trail takes a right and goes across this bridge. If you recall, Sullivan is scared of bridges. I didn't manage to get a picture of him on the far end crying not wanting to step on it.
From this foot bridge, there is a trestle rail bridge just to the north.
Of course, after I forced Sullivan to cross the little one I found out the trestle bridge is now a foot bridge. He was much more comfortable crossing it. Snapped a little selfie. A Bad one. I forgot to smile, Sullivan is hunkered in behind me and Shiela wouldn't stay in frame.

We wandered all the way up to Rockford center. This boardwalk also freaked the big boy out. He walked right next to the building and wouldn't approach the edge. He's a bit ridiculous. 120 pounds of puss puss. It was snowing even harder up nearer the building as you can tell. I tell you, it was wonderful.
Today I need to stop knitting and get showered up to get them out there. They are needing it.
Apartment living is not for these guys. The boys just hate it. Shiela, well she can't hear the other residences. This morning I'm so irritated by other people that I have the television on just to make noise to cover them and hopefully irritate them too. Yesterday morning there was some blowing snow and ground blizzard conditions so some of the schools were shut. I REALLY like when the little girl upstairs goes to school. The good thing is, we are going house hunting with the realtor tomorrow. Fingers crossed.
After wandering about the trail for a bit, finding better parking areas and exploring the trails, we went back down to the dog park again. The dogs met Toby and Beau. They had quite a good little romp together and were able to get left alone in the apartment a bit while I went to Ada for knit night and before Bob got home. I also may have a possible job at the yarn store... Again, fingers crossed.
And speaking of yarn, I got clue 2 of the Mystery Knit-Along done. I am starting to worry a bit about the amount of yarn I have left. My main blue color is getting a bit low. We shall see. I am behaving myself and not checking out spoiler photos that others have posted. I'm trying to keep it a mystery and not ruin my thoughts on it like I did the Rockefeller. If I see pictures and don't like it, I won't finish it. I know myself. All urges to work on will wither and die away.
And I cast on the watermelon socks for April. Don't worry, no bathroom shots of these ones. They are only going to be a women's 5 so I can't get them on my feet.

Okay, I need to get out and about with the kids and do some laundry and housekeeping to boot. I'll type later. Have a good weekend everyone.

Monday, February 24, 2014

On a Windy Day

It occurred to me today as I walked the dogs today that just like 6 years ago, give or take a month and half or so, I changed towns and wandered into the city that will be my home for who knows how long on the shirt tails of a good blow.
Their idea of a dog park here is... well, they have them. Let's focus on the positive. So, I took the kids where I saw a nice park yesterday. Not a dog park, but the boys got to wander on trail off leash as the wind buffeted us and pushed me and the old one across the ice. She has to be on leash these days. I would hate to move and lose her due to her wandering off in her deafness.

This is Roselle Park in Ada to the North East of Grand Rapids. We stumbled on it as we house hunted yesterday afternoon. You can see the coal grey clouds with another batch of snow moving in on us to the north.
Above is looking back towards the parking lot. It is a rehabbed old beef cattle ranch on the edge of a wetland with cross country ski trails and the paved trails as seen in the other picture. The grain silos are kind of cool. One has a climbing wall set up for kids on the lower section and the other one if you look real close has an observation deck at the top there. I'll get some better pics tomorrow.
Last night I stayed up past 10pm for the first time in quite some time to wrap up the March socks.
They are a bit big on me as they are for my brother. He wears a size 10 and I wear a size 8, so there is a bit of extra room plus some negative ease to make sure they fit well.
And Betsy, this shot is for you since you said the January Socks photos looked like they were from under a bathroom stall... Thought it would make you laugh. If it helps, I am sitting on the toilet lid and not taking a bathroom break.

So, while running around today walking dogs, and finding a yarn shop I decided I had to run my car by a car wash. She is a little jiggly in the front end and smelly when she warms up. I think it is just all the road grime thrown up under her on the tow here. While at the car wash spraying my car off the wind came up, pushed a cold front in and dropped the temp 10 degrees on me. I feel like I frostbit my hand and the technicolor soaps and detergents froze to my white car. Because I don't look gay enough driving a Kia Soul, it now has day-glo yellow, pink, and blue smudges across it. I think I need to go find an automated car wash here in a few she I hit a grocery store for dinner.

We also found a little mountain biking park that the we romped the kids through the snow banks on Saturday. Shiela was the trooper she ever is. At the end she was dragging butt and her left rear leg seemed to always fall into the post holes prior traffic left (The Guy and The Boys). But, it was exactly what we needed.
I myself was a bit wore down and was glad I had put on a pot of gumbo early that morning.
Good stuff. Okay, off to hunt up dinner makings and wash my poor car.

Friday, February 21, 2014

And So it Blows...

Well, we're here. Very Tired even after a couple of nights sleep on our own bed, but we are firmly here. The Guy and I are a bit worn out and frazzled, and the dogs are needy, energy filled, and wiley, but otherwise we are well, moved into the apartment and completely ready to start house hunting.

House hunting, already? Yes. We have discovered that apartment living with 4 dogs, none of them being small, is not a way to stay sane. But I digress into our current predicament, let's rewind to the previous few.

So, Saturday was wonderful. A Big HUGE Thank You to all who came over and shared in the good times, fantastic eats, and warm feelings as we prepared to depart. You all reminded me how much I am join got miss the newer parts of our family there in Wyoming. Sunday, we woke early and quickly realized that though the 20 ft U-Haul was the only truck available in Casper, it wasn't big enough to take all that we wanted to. Se, we were forced to downsize some things. No Cindy and Millie, the loom wasn't among the things left behind.

More items were taken to Goodwill, some item were given to family and friends. Then we played Tetris with the remainder and got it all shoved in the back of the truck. Scrubbed the house down while it was empty of belongings and crashed on the futon mattress on the floor with the dogs. Let me tell you, Sullivan's look of doggie horror as we packed up his couch, was hysterical though his antics in later worry were not.

Monday morning we got up bright and early, packed the dogs into the Toyota, made sure the cat was set until her new housemates could swing by and check on her and hit the road. I feel less and less guilty about her as I sit in this apartment and realize she would have HATED living in an apartment where she couldn't go outside, or come in and find a cozy quite corner to be alone in. I am assured by the memory of the new house owner picking her up and cuddling with her that she is better off there in her house, with her dishes, her 2 bags of food I made sure she had, seeing her vet and getting to know her new people. Though I look back at pictures of her and Sullivan together and feel bad all over again, I know we made the best decision for her.

So, we hit the Flying J truck stop on the way out of town, filled up and hit I-25 south, to find in less than a mile that the interstate was closed. closed due to high winds and icy conditions.
Drifting dirt roads, so much fun!
So we got off at Hat Six. hit the old highway and drove through to Glenrock were we took the little dirt county roads to... We'll, we took a wrong turn. In the end the 26ft U-Haul towing my car, that can't reverse with said tow dolly on behind it got stuck. With some creative heaving and bowing we got her unstuck to head back towards the correct turn where we found a huge mud pit in the road. Not on one side of the road, but in the middle of the road, from steep side, to steep side. There are no pictures because I was to busy thinking, "What the hell are we going to do?" to take any. And it's also better if there weren't any to share because U-Haul would want to know exactly what I did to their truck.
So, The Guy while I look on, takes the Toyota up over the steep shoulder and drives past the mud hole to the other side and comes on over the walkie talkie and says, "The side I just came over is still frozen solidly, make sure you turn wide."

And something along the lines of, "What the $@&% do you mean turn wide? If I turn wide I will high center this *&$%#". I admit, I didn't say this over the walkie talkie, but instead rammed the gas maybe screamed like a little girl when I hit the wall of sand and trundled down the shoulder and probably caught a little air coming off it in an effort not to high center or get stuck in the soft sand at it's base. Needless to say, I was shaking just a tiny wee bit and apologizing to the U-Haul and my poor car that was drug along for the fun.
See that almost empty interstate to the right? Should have been a clue.
Then we kept trundling on to find in Douglas I-25 still closed, the roads a sheet of ice and lines of 18 wheelers awaiting better conditions. Did we stop? Hell no. We knew we were running in front of a storm into Michigan. So wee took the old highway to the Orin junction, stopped at the reststop and headed east.
We soon hit dry pavement, and shortly after that the sky's opened up to blue and the snow disappeared. However, the wind chased us across Nebraska.

I knew the western side of Nebraska had beautiful bluffs and hills as it marched up into prairie from the plains towards the rockies, but I wasn't prepared for the miles and miles of rolling hills in northern Nebraska. To be honest, the flat lands were short and brief on highway 20. We hit them late in the evening as we pressed on trying to make up for the delay of going around the interstate that morning. It was already mostly dark by the time we hit them.
We crashed that night in Norfolk as planned where we had reservations, but I was a bit surprised to find it still windy, with dropping temps and ice forming on the streets. We were up again early that morning and headed out towards Freeport Illinois as planned to meet up with my Aunt Millie for our second night on the road.

Once again, I was shocked as we hit the eastern side of Nebraska and entered into Iowa. I have been through both states before but always remember them as flat land. There were beautiful hills with trees and tiered hay fields. In the early morning light it was beautiful.
All in all, although it was another long days drive, it wasn't bad. It had me looking forward to the third and last day being out shortest on the road. That is until we hit Dubuque. It's a larger town, and I wasn't enjoying town driving in the beast with the trailer. I had no further mishaps, but I wasn't having fun. To boot, it was late in the day as we hit the steep hills, crossed the skinny bridge that spans the Mississippi and entered Illinois.

So far, the country surprised me, but as I hit that bridge, a part of my old memory kicked in and said, "I remember this bridge" and as we hit the curvy roads to the East and climbed up to Galena, the temperature dropped and I started worrying about ice.

I have been to Galena before, and it is a pretty town. Elizabeth is also a pretty little town nestled between some hills as your continue eastward, but it had skinny streets and again just added to my anxiety with the big truck. Despite my anxiety we got into Freeport without incident. Settled into my aunts place and had a wonderful evening of chartings, goofing off with dogs and good Chinese food.

Alas, I am getting long winded and am making myself tired of this tale. So let's be as quick as we can.
The third day was taxing. It was still windy. Surprise! The wind mills kind of gave it away. Between the wind buffeting the truck, the increased traffic as we hit the outskirts of Chicago, I didn't get pictures. I did a lot of palm sweating, cussing at other drivers and The Guy as he changed lanes with ease and sped up easily in front of me with the Toyota as I lumbered up and down the hills and through the multiple lanes of traffic. There were no accidents. There was a tight squeeze in a roadside Shell gas station though that tested what little patience and blood sugar I had left. Then we hit Grand Rapids and I wanted to cry as we twisted and turned through it's interstate/highway exchanges. But we survived. We got to the apartment,unloaded what we would ned for a couple months and yesterday took the rest and the U-Haul to the storage facility for short term storage. As much as I hated doing that shift in the pouring rain yesterday and was full on pissed at other drivers as we went south through downtown to the storage facility, I'm glad we did it yesterday rather than today.

Today, we woke to blowing snow and howling wind. I know, didn't I say I was looking forward to not seeing this anymore? Some people never learn. It is bad here today. Cold. Windy. Wet. It sucks, even though we found the kids a dog park, took them on a longer walk than thy have had for days and hit the grocery store for soup makings. But it will pass, and it gave me time to let you all know we made it safely.

Hope you're week has been less adventure filled. And John, don't ever give me crap about not being able to do highway driving again. I managed the Honolulu freeway just fine that trip, I've driven in California rush hour traffic with 16 lanes of traffic, and though the most I saw at anyone time yesterday was my own 6 lanes going east bound (I didn't pay much attention to how many lanes west bound traffic had, they weren't my concern), I did it in a 20 foot U-Haul towing my car on a dolly. I got you beat. It wasn't fun, but I know I can do it if I have to. And God Bless that beast of a U-Haul. i pushed her hard, made her get up and move and crowded a couple cars who decided they didn't want me to change lanes though I out paced them. She did everything I asked her to do. Including off roading... never again.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Praire Dreams

I've been slowly realizing as I have been packing boxes and making arrangements to make this change of scenery as easy as possibly, that I am already in some ways, missing Wyoming. Sure, there are the things I won't miss. Primarily, the wind that as I type is battering the house with 60mph gusts. Ne seriously, that is the wind gusts today. But there are plenty of things I will miss. Notice I'm not saying, people. They already know I am going to miss them. No, I'm talking about the place itself. The geographic location. Not those that are here that have made the place a home over the last few years.

I realized, the other day that the high scrub prairie with it's "lighter" winds that are scented with sage, was going to be something that I will miss. Most people think of prairie as flat seemingly never ending grasslands, but no, that is the great plains to the east that we will have to travel through. I am speaking of the rolling hills that step up towards the rockies of sandy soil, scrub brush and cactus, with its intermingling grasses and stream bed loving copses of cottonwood. The breath taking views that open up as you bob up over the ridges that snake down from the mountains, and yes, that even includes truncated Casper and Muddy mountains with their lack of peaks yet winding box canyons.

I have long said that every place has it's own beauty. This place called Wyoming is no different. You don't even have to struggle to find most of it. Most days, the sky's themselves are a beautiful expanse of blue and you can watch the clouds of all kinds form, build and dissipate over the gold and browns of the landscape. True, away from the rivers, there is little green, and I do miss green, but the amazing shades the earth has of not only browns, tans, and gold, but vibrant reds, greenish limestones, and in some places vermillion sand stones.

I have so many photos, but waking up and seeing it, smelling it, and hearing the sounds that complete it and scented the airs that perfume it cannot be replaced with a photo. I still miss the salty tang of the waters back home, and occasionally remember the heady scent of mile upon mile of tall sedge grasses in the Yukon Kuskokwim river deltas as the coastal breezes make the grasses mimic the waves of the sea. And nothing ever takes the place of the woods back home after the first frosts and the smell of ripe cranberries and rotting leaves. That is a smell I simply have to think about to recall it in it's glory.

So, back to the note of packing. It's going to be radio silence here for a week or so. Don't worry, I will be back. But I don't foresee the time to blog much as we finish packing, actually make the drive which we have scheduled for 3 days worth of driving, and then unpacking on the other side. As soon as I have internet, and a computer back up and working, I will let you guys know how it went, and will hopefully have a few pictures.

We plan on leaving the morning of the 17th (Monday), hitting a hotel half on the east side of Nebraska that night. The 18th we will be going to Freeport IL where we will stay with an aunt who insisted that we stay with her though I haven't seen her since I was nine years old. Then from there on Wednesday morning, to Grand Rapids where we will unpack a bed and crash until the next morning I am sure. Actually, hopefully with that trip we will be driving a mere 6 hours. Fingers crossed we will have the energy to get the truck unpacked into our apartment so we can start house searching as soon as possible.

With all that said, I will talk to you all later. I need to get back to it. I have to pack the office and computers after all...

Saturday, February 8, 2014

So... I quit my job

I say that like it wasn't planned, don't I? It is kind of required to quit my job working for the City of Casper in order to move to Michigan. It still, feels unsettling to know I no longer have a steady income trickling into my accounts faster than it trickles out. And that... Well, it feels funny

On the other hand, it's needed, because we are to the messy point of packing. You know it. Where you have emptied the closets of every thing, its now spread across the house as you slowly organize it in logical ways into boxes in order of when you will need it as you move. It's the crappy part of moving and packing. That place you feel that this is impossible, and wonder why you have so much crap.

And why do we have so much crap? Who knows. I know I don't, and I am in the process of offloading some of it. Every time I use craigslist, I get so irritated by the jack asses that just want to waste peoples time. I finally got rid of the bed that I wanted to strangle a woman over. The ad literally was named "Twin Bed with Mattress" Had the details of what I was selling, including pictures of the bed. with both the mattress and the linens I was including. She sent me an email that said, "Does that include the mattress?" I didn't bother responding due to doubting I wouldn't be able to resist saying something rude.

I have also had many other emails regarding questions on other items that I have simply ignored. The last update to the ad that removed the pictures and items that I have already sold, I stated in it that if you aren't truly interested in anything other than wasting my time, don't email because I'm not going to respond. If the item don't go, they will go to goodwill on the way out of town.

This morning I have been working on selling the truck. The Guy has decided that the old Ford is more trouble to keep and move, than to just sell. I have to admit, I think I will miss the old beast. But, if you know anyone interested in a 79 Ford, let me know.
He's safe. It got hit last summer while sitting in front of our house, and the loss of a fog light and dented fender is all the damage. Oh, and a missing R that I never noticed. The drunks chevy however was totaled. God Bless drunk drivers...
He's ruggedly handsome, I think.
LED Tail Lights... Just for a touch of modern.
New ties including a spare.
New Front and rear windshields
On it's way over form Utah it blew a master seal, so the engine (351m) and transmission are new, and the mechanicals all gone over. Mainly, the next projects for it are the cosmetics both in and out. 
The beast is slow to warm up, but has been starting nicely even in the cold days recently. It is 4 wheel drive, with an automatic transmission. It has about 11K miles on it side the engine was replaced and the transmission rebuilt.

Now that I have made you all feel like I'm a car sales mane, I hope you all have a good day. I need to hit the shower and keep shuffling piles into boxes or dumpsters.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

And So the Piles Grow...

Well, some of them. The other piles I was dealing with this morning (the ones of snow?) as I walked the dogs about 0600, just melt into little humps of slick as snot ice then get covered with a new dusting of snow so you can truly bust your bum on them. Actually, it's more my knees that hurt from them as I slip and slide across them, then make contact with dry pavement that stops my slippery progression dead. I realized this morning as the tendons in my right knee that already has a chunk of metal in it protested from one such slide, that perhaps the nightly walk of the dogs is what has been keeping me awake with dull knee pain. Alas, the dogs still need walked so I will cope with it.
A heated bed does little for a cold nose as a lazy cat refuses to assist in the packing.
And it is snowing slightly again this morning. Maybe it's more of a sifting of dry light snow, than really snowing. Snowing for me imply's a good big snow with fat wet flakes. This is more of the small little flakes that gently float down. Actually, being Wyoming they get driven into your exposed facial skin by a biting wind, but this morning was actually quite calm. Lately we've been warming up just enough, that it gets the street wet as we start a snow, then the sun goes down, the streets freeze and all hell breaks loose. Really Wyoming? You are still a quasi northern state and it's winter, maybe you can remember how to drive in winter conditions?
Speaking of lazy...
This last week I have realized that the current job is maybe not my cup of tea. I know, I rarely speak of work, but I will tell you all that I do 911 dispatch/call taking. Now, imagine the above described road conditions, and the calls I get. I am not always a people person, and I am truly not a dumb ass people person. So, this job has stressed me, and I have to  remind myself on a daily basis that just because someone lacks common sense or is just as dumb as rock, doesn't mean they don't get emergency services. Long term, the job isn't for me, and we should all think our lucky stars that I can't reach through a phone and actually smack people. Short term, it was a wonderful work experience, I learned more in a few months than I thought possible (keep in mind Ihave been a full time college student in my past), and challenged every mental skill I think I have dealing with situations. This coming Thursday is my last day as we prep to move, and I am truly going to miss the team I have been welcomed into this last fall and winter.
And then there are those that stress about bags/boxes being packed. Little does he know.
So, let's discuss moving. We are heading to Grand Rapids Michigan in the next 3 weeks or so. I have had a lot of people ask me, "Oh, are you okay with that?" Let me just say, I grew up in Alaska, and still think of it as home. I am sad that I'm not going back just yet, but life is what it is. As for Michigan? As I told someone yesterday, "Gee, it has actual rain, non man-made bodies of water, and things called 'rivers' that actually flow, and not just sometimes, but year round, and actual green growing plants. I think I'll deal with it." In all actuality, being from south central Alaska, Michigan is closer to what I'm used to climate wise than here in Casper. I will just have to find a way to deal with the humidity and wet heat.
And then there's the old hats
Now, with all that said, I will say I don't hate Casper. It's been a great place to live over the last 6 years. If not for the climate, than definitely so for the family we've made for ourselves here. I have made wonderful friends here, and I truly hope to stay in contact with you all. In fact, please shoot me your mail addresses so I can update you when we have a permanent address of our own. Well, as permanent as we get. And I'm sure come some 100 degree 90% humidity day, I will crave a dry Wyoming wind to cool the sweat from my... well, I'm a whole body sweater. But on a daily basis, I will not miss the wind, let me tell you.

Our move date got moved up from the end of February/Beginning of March to more middle February, as such things tend to happen in life. This is one of the reasons I put in my notice as soon as we had an actual green light and knew where we were going. But the Guy was asked if he could be there sooner, and now that we found a place for us and the dogs to crash there's no reason not to make this happen a little faster. Let's just hope Mother Natures timing will agree with ours and we can slip out between storms. Most likely scenario? We'll get slapped with one bitch of a midwest blizzard. We'll deal.

But today, today we're just packing. Slowly but surely as the kids nap and moan and groan that they don't know what we're doing and they wish we would pay more attention to them, the piles in the house grow. For those of you who have moved more than across town, or state for those of you in the East where it's practically the same as across town, you know the piles.
These are one type of pile. The, don't need before we move, box it up and call it good kind. Books often fall into this category.
And then there's the, I haven't used this in years, it can go away piles. There are a couple different kinds of these piles though. There are the trash or I hate you burn it piles, then there are the good will piles, the gas money for the move sell piles, and the I know who could use this I'll give it to them before we leave piles.
And lastly, are the piles in progress as you weed belongings into these piles. These are the messy ones. You can see, I try to get the piles nice and neat. Packed all away before moving them out of the house. They're labeled set to go for easy moving day coping. I hate it when people have asked you to helm them move and when you show up, most of their stuff is in clothes hampers/baskets (truly, how many hampers does one household need?) trash bags, and tied up sheets. Or best yet, when one of The Guy's family members asked for our help and we showed up, they had the U-Haul at the other end of the building and NOTHING packed. Seriously. Nothing. That was fun.
Knowing that this process was coming, I concentrated on getting my February socks done so I didn't have to worry about falling behind on the 12 months/12 socks challenge one of my fellow Fiber Skeinks set for our group. Yes, before you ask, I will stress about the socks not getting done. Don't laugh, you have your own brand of crazy too.
They are God Awful Ugly, and the pattern didn't show up well. Below you can just make out the spiraling patter that is mired in each sock. The left one goes to the left, the right on e to the right. I hated this yarn in the skein, much less to knit it but I know someone who will love them.
I finished up the last little fiddly work on them last night and Betsy, I took some purposeful picture that I hoped didn't look like they were taken from under a bathroom stall door for you... Just for you. Next month I will take some that look exactly like a bathroom stall. Just for you.
Because I did start next months. I couldn't let it go. I had to get them at least not he needles so I would have an end of the day project to relax as I let me spine decompress before bed. Then there's that Mystery Knit Along that starts on Valentine's Day I let Cindy talk me into. What was I thinking? I have no will power against the cast on voice. At least I try to plan it a bit. I cast on the 1st three socks purposely with 3 largest pairs I have to make for other people for the year. That way the next ones are for the kids, which saves me only a little knitting time, but still. They'll feel smaller. The next set will be the smallest in a fun watermelon yarn I have for my niece. When we get settled in and I can un pack the books I'll fiddle with some new heels. I just have a pattern in my head I tend to use for socks. Nothing fancy, but seems to fit well and people appreciate them.

Okay, I need to get back to packing. I hear The Guy putting together boxes out there.