Follow by Email

Monday, October 29, 2007

Cruising For Fun & Clean Air


It is with a the smallest tug at my guilt strings that I pack my bags for points south aboard the Carnival Cruise ship-Elation. I am concerned about news reports that another Santa Ana is expected for next weekend. We would be in danger again and I am leaving Don an instruction sheet for evacuation.

The work I leave behind will be waiting for me when I return. It might rain and that would be so helpful. Don is actually hosing the concrete today to get rid of some of this soot we keep tracking into the house. The upshot in the house is the purging of possessions. Evan has completely organized his room. I bought closet organizers for him and he made good use of his time off from school. Brianna was a big help and we are proud. Don is working on his closet and Ryan and I tackled his clothes this weekend.

When I return, I have less than one week to felt and hand finish 25 handbags for my sale Nov. 10th. I will be knitting on the cruise whenever possible. Wool bags and 95 degrees. The pool may win. I will be offline for the week. Adios...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Down Time


Today is the start of a Ryan weekend and I couldn't be happier. You see now, that what is often perceived as a burden, is really a blessing. Being housebound for 2 days is just what the doctor ordered. Ryan will talk my ears off and be full of concern for all of his friends. We will reflect together on all of our loved ones. Tomorrow, at church, he will see that all is well and his life continues with nary a missed beat. I get the laundry done and more cleaning. I will sneak in some therapeutic knitting. This evacuation episode has caused people to look at their possessions with a critical eye and discernment. What it is we really need? (Besides Yarn?)

I have smoke voice. Everyone that calls apologizes for waking me up. HA! It is overcast today and the firefighters warned us last night that a mild Santa Ana wind was going to come up today and not to worry. Just realize it stirs up the soot and ash into a bad air fog.

I confess that going on a cruise for 5 days is sounding better to me by the minute. I have talked to so many people that have been helping or have the keen desire to do so. Every contribution is valuable. This community has such a great spirit. Find a church in your area and call them to see what you can do. The Salvation Army needs help coordinating donations, and the Red Cross may be looking for people to help. The local TV stations may have a network set up to channel volunteers. I plan to get out of town and come back refreshed and ready to resume...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Safe,Sound and Sooty



Good Morning. What a day and night. Woke early to the most beautiful bright red full Moon setting over Moonlight beach to the west. More cleaning and laundry. Our faithful and trusty pool guy and Gardeners arrived ready to rock and roll. Loose limbs and downed branches met the chainsaw. Soot and ash were swept and dumped. The pool is no longer pitch black and we can filter it again with the cover on. I still continue to battle the soot in the house and have been told it may not really be clean until the air is clean.

It was 44 degrees This morning with heavy fog. This is great news. As the sun burns off the marine layer and we get the onshore flow the breeze continues to make breathing rough. It will get better each day. How I wish it would rain. Yet blue sky would also be welcome. The smoke haze is getting old.

We were allowed back into Rancho Santa Fe yesterday. Don to his office, me to the church. The skeleton crew of pastors and a handful of members had opened the church Monday to all the firefighters and the efforts grew our church into a command center. As I arrived and so many other elders and deacons responded to help, we were able to spell those local heroes and get to work.

KP is my specialty. We worked as a team to serve dinner to approx 75+ firefighters and police from 5pm until I left at 1 am. Others stayed through the night to serve the platoons of 8-12 that continued to come in for food, a SHOWER and sleep. I will go back for the same shift tonight and must tell you it is a privilege to serve the brave souls that put their lives on the line for us.

As things calm down around here, the FF say they will move with the fire. These crews are from all over the state. The guys I had time to talk to were from Windsor, north of Petaluma. They drove 12 hours to get to us. I learned so much from them about fire. Due to our unique terrain and winds we are a very difficult fire to fight. I got a full tutorial from hard working guys and gals that were happy to have someone to talk to and a full belly.

My galpals and I have decided to go on our cruise as scheduled for Monday. Cabo here I come. I will rest well and then come back and knit and felt bags for my show on Nov the 10th. Then I will clean house with an eye towards preparing for the holidays. Yes, I said the HOLIDAYS...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tired- Not Lazy


Well, as it turns out I am not lazy. As the sun heated up the house I had to get busy with the clean up. If you have been to my house, you know it is not well insulated. Breezy, may best describe the somewhat sketchy construction. When I got up this morning I noticed the soot and ash in the house. Bummer. Turns out there is a fine coat of soot and ash all over the interior. It is just as icky as it sounds.

When we evacuated the TV was giving tips on how to prepare the house and I followed the guidelines. "They" said to take down all of the curtains and move everything 2 feet from the windows. It made sense to me. Explanations were that the intense heat from outside can cause the drapes to melt and then combust and there you are with an interior fire. Today's work was all about getting those curtains up and keeping the heat out. I started by washing and drying the windows and surfaces with white vinegar with water. Dusted off the drapes and vacuumed and washed every surface with the V/W solution. The Living room/Kitchen haven't been this clean in a year.

With each new panel of curtain that went up, the temperature came down a little. Imagine being closed up in your house with nothing open and the outside temp in the high 80's. Who would do that? We have an air cleaner running in the middle of the house and it is also a weak air conditioner, so our air in here gets better and better. Don did go to Kinko's to work and that was better for his lungs. He is focused on work and is over the whole fire thing. His car is unpacked and put away. Mine is still packed and pointed out for escape. Yin and yang after almost 30 years together.


We took a break from our work to eat some fish tacos, field some phone calls, and catch up on news and emails. I decided to give my neglected eyebrows some attention. Hairy and scary. When much to my surprise I saw them! Black soot rings around my neck and arms and face. Newsflash-sweat and soot make you look like a coal miner. Add to the look, a wet dish towel wrapped around my hair to keep this chambermaid cool. I'm off to hit the showers...

Tired or Lazy






I do not want to stop watching the coverage. I do not want to clean. I feel fussy. I may go take a nap. We are not supposed to use water, so you could say it is a government mandate that I not clean. Thats the ticket, ... These are photos from last night in San Clemente-Notice smoke to the south and blue skies to the north. Heather and I are fire buddies for life. Don't I look tired...

Home Sweet Home


Okay. You got me. Yes, I was fantasizing about life in a FEMA trailer and rebuilding a nice, air tight house on a berm so we could enjoy the view of the ocean. In this crazy dream world, all was well. There was no sign of the loss and misery of rebuilding with your history gone up in flames. That's what fantasy is all about. Pleasure, not pain.

We have been spared the pain. The air is lousy and we sound like we have colds. The grounds are covered in soot, ash and downed tree limbs. I do not want to stir up that mess until this is all over. Inside the house it is stinky with smoke and a fine layer of soot dust is on every surface. I could use a sanitation team. I am going to use the one room at a time method, from smallest to largest. Cleaning and moving back in with attention to how irrelevant most of our "stuff" is. This will take some time. Don has informed me that he is so far behind in work, that Evan and I are on our own.

Last night we got restless and got in Heather's car (ours are full of aforementioned stuff) and drove north to San Clemente. Our friends invited us to drink wine on their beautiful rooftop with an expansive ocean view. As we took deep clean breaths, smoke to the south built up and the Camp Pendleton Fires became visible. Driving south on the 5 we saw up close the orange flames licking over the hilltop next to the freeway. Within the hour, the 5 was shut down in both directions. It was a good thing Heather got us back to Tom. He stayed behind to work in peace. Oceanside central looked so good to us all. At 11pm we got the news we could go home. See Signonsandiego.com for excellent coverage.

We packed up and drove home. Through orange cones on Lone Jack and on to the house. Dark, quiet and eerie. Dirty, but intact and safe. This morning Don was up and out early. He tried to get to his office in Rancho Santa Fe. Armed National Guard in Humve's stopped him and turned him away. I won't feel better until that area opens up and our friends can get home.

Helicopters flew over our house with water buckets heading east. It was a "Hurray!" moment. When reporters refer to this being like a war zone- that encompasses the feelings of anxiety and rejoicing in the rescue aspect.

We slept well in our own beds last night. I slept in so late avoiding work as long as possible. Now, I want to update you and then answer email, then get to scrubbing. First and foremost a big THANK YOU to our hosts, Tom and Heather. Evan said it best, as we left late last night. " Hands down, the best place to find refuge!" We could not say it any better. I will not unpack the car until the fires in Rancho Santa Fe are clear and Don can get to his office and our friends can begin their clean up. I have tried to call those that left messages on the home phone and appreciate everyone that checks this sight for updates. My knitting days are on hold until we feel like we can hang the art back on the walls...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Headed Home


Late night reprieve. We are heading home with permission, We are curious and cautious. We will not unpack the cars, just in case. Continue to pray for the rest of the county. Thanks for your support, prayers and good thoughts all around. I finished one handbag to felt- and get to use my washing machine soon!

Stadium Stands Out - Not New Orleans







I am sure that if you are following the news you have had to draw comparisons to the Katrina Disaster. This county has evacuated 500,000 people and provided services where needed. Order reigns and the citizens are behaving well. The looters found so far were a couple of teenagers helping themselves to a cold beer at the neighbors house.






Our gov- Arnold is here and teaching yoga to the kids in the stadium. Food and water are being delivered. The loss of your home is really beyond the scope of most imaginations. Comfort is hard to give, but San Diego knows how to reach out.We are fairing pretty well as a county and we are proud. If we could send in the wine we would have a firefest. Not making light of anyones situation. Just grateful for the light hearted help to the heavy hearted...

Things To Do While Your County Burns



#1. Knit




#2. Read a good book. Suggested: Drunk, Divorced and Covered in Cat Hair




#3. Drink plenty of ice water.




#4. Watch limited coverage. Take an hour off every now and then.




#5. Eat snacks.




#6. Communicate with your friends and families.




#7. Stay calm. Part 2 of #7 drink wine to achieve this goal.




#8. Find a nice dog to pet.




#9. Cool off in the shower,air dry in the low humidity.




#10. Knit some more as you think about the flammability of a house full of yarn.

Good thing so much of it is in the car with the silverware and art.

Updated Fire Info

)
We are still seeing areas evacuated. Power lines are down and we are expecting blackouts soon. Never say "things just couldn't get worse". Just to clarify from an email earlier- we are insured for the house. I did not insure the cruise I am scheduled to take on Monday the 29th to celebrate my friend Karen's birthday.


At night, when the sun goes down, the winds tend to calm down. As the sun heats the atmosphere the wind picks up velocity and the fires become more erratic. That helps to explain why when things look good, it can change in a second. The winds are capricious.


Evan and Don are going out in the car to see Brianna (where her family is evacuated ) at a hotel in Carlsbad. We are all restless. We got good news that as of an hour ago our house is good. One of our friends drove out to take a look. We may go north to find clean air. It is getting smokier. We are all having breathing trouble.


If I go out the car AC is the best air around and I can charge my cell phone. Left mine at home, along with my pants and my hairbrush and blowdryer. Of course, with 6% humidity,the hair drys pretty quickly and with plenty of static electricity. Now if we could harvest this power...


Safe Haven

Sunrise in the wildfire 10.23.07_945

We are official refugees as of 10 am yesterday. Seeking breathable air we went north to Heather and Tom in Oceanside. We thought it was so much better than the Fairgrounds or Qualcomm Stadium. We were right.Oceanside is an untouched pocket of safety from the flames. All of Heathers neighbors are also sheltering families from all over the county. We were mandated to evacuate and just heard on the TV that we are covered by our insurance to be reimbursed for hotel stays. Every hotel in the safe zones are full and we are quite content at the Walpole Ritz.Heather prepared a gourmet dinner and we went to bed early due to exhaustion and the red wine.

The air is impossible to breath and the humidity remains in the single digits. We have peeling lips and dry skin. Each one of us have the sniffles and sooty nose. We have no idea if our home is safe. We do know that homes in our surrounding area have burned. All around the church we have lost homes, so we know our church family will suffer. We are only suffering the unknown. All of our physical needs are met and we are enjoying good company. Evan is in video heaven with Tom's technical skills with an X-Box exceeding the dreams of a 15 year old boy.

We had the perspective of watching the Fallbrook fire and the Withcreek fire from the hilltop of Heathers backyard. It was clear to see the size and power of these 2 fires and from a distance that felt safe. The massive evacuations are precautionary. Seeing the coverage of the freeways that are closed puts the perspective on the number of people affected. We won't really know anything until we are allowed back to our homestead. We will keep you posted. Breath deep and appreciate the air...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I Love My Knitwits


Another Wednesday night behind, me and I am reflecting on my knitwits. We are an eclectic group of ladies to say the least. Last night we had 2 new visitors and I am pleased to report that we welcomed them with open arms and curious needles. Betty knits with the pencil hold and is so fast that you cannot see her move. Becky compared her to a spider spinning silk straight off the points of her fingers. I saw the same picture Becky. Yes, that was before the 2nd glass of wine. Betty is a phenomenal knitter from NCKG and I hope she comes back again.


Heather brought sweet Jamie. She looks like a teenager. An unlikely mother of 3 kids under 5, and grafting complex cable seams like a pro. I love the new breed of knitters that are fearless. If they see a design that they love, the love transcends the degree of difficulty. Those of us that have been knitting forever sometimes approach projects with fear. The trepidation often stops us from making challenging, yet beautiful hand knits.
I will take new photos next week. This one was taken a few months ago when we knit red scarves for the Heart Scarves organization. Often we will knit for a charity. Currently we are knitting large Christmas stockings to stuff for needy children this season. This is a great way to teach new skills to the ladies. It was Robin D.'s idea to learn how to make socks. and then donate them. I am so proud of the girls. Everyone has turned their heels and next week we will learn the Kitchener stitch. It feels great to teach new skills to students that are fun and make great appetizers. So thanks ladies...


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Ghost Dogs


When we had to have our beloved dog "put to sleep" in June I vowed to never have another dog. Roxie is irreplaceable and I knew there would never be another dog like her.


I began to waffle on that hard line position within days. Searching the Internet for dogs that needed adopting and missing the steady reassuring presence of my "girl" lead me to pray a special prayer. I told God that if he wanted me to have another dog, that He should put the right one in my path. I wasn't going to actively seek one, but would accept the happenstance of one choosing me.


One torrid, hot day last month, while entertaining Christine from D.C, a skinny white husky came to my front door talking and crying for attention. You would have thought we were best friends. I had to give him water and food. I read his tags and found him to be a neighbor and felt he just stopped by for a cold drink and an appetizer. That occurs regularly around here. After some lengthy petting and talking, he ran off with a backward glance and a howl as he crossed the orchard and disappeared into the trails.


Christine and I continued lunch and marveled at the compelling way this dog named Polar expressed himself with dog talk. This is a well known trait of the Husky breed. Within 5 minutes Polar was back at the door and more insistent than ever. Was I seeing double? He was back with an identical female version of himself. I never found out her name as she was very skittish and hyper. I could never hold her down long enough to read her tags. She drank and ate,and talked and implored alongside Polar. We were convinced that something was wrong. The 2 of them would run 50 yards away and then back and then off again.


This, of course, triggered thoughts of the old TV show "Lassie". Was Timmy down the well? Was there an intruder at their homestead Ala O.J in Brentwood? We were so concerned we went by car to the address on Polars tag and Christine interviewed the preteen kids that came to the door. "Are you safe? Is there an intruder? Blink twice for yes and once for no!" The kids assured us that their dogs roamed the whole neighborhood all of the time and they were just fine. I am sure that they must have thought we were suffering heat stroke. The rest of the day the dogs came and went and we just coexisted with little contact except for keeping the water dish full.


This went on for several days and the "kids" were often found curled up in the shade of my olive trees waiting for me and the inevitable treats. The water dish became a permanent fixture. My man wasn't loving this arrangement and the kids were being disrespectful and growling at Mr. Man. I called the owners and asked if they could control the dogs so my hubby could feel safe getting from the car to the house. The dogs disappeared and all was quiet for a couple of weeks.


Fast forward. After a notable absence and I confess, some feelings of longing, Polar reappeared at our front door. This time he did not go home. For a whole week he spent the night curled up on the back patio. Still too skinny and thirsty we all started to bond with this handsome husky.


Evan brought him into the house. I brushed and groomed the nettles out of his thick coat. When Don ran the horse trails Polar hopped over our fence and joined him. They ran together as companions.We all started to enjoy each others company. Based on his choice of us, the fact that he knew his way home and would not go, and our growing fondness for each other, I felt like a prayer had been heard and answered.


That very night driving in past the community mailbox we saw the poster for LOST DOG. It was Polar. The poster said that he had a family that missed him.The kids cried themselves to sleep every night. I sat the boys down and said we have to return him. I thought he was unwanted, underfed and mistreated too. The poster changed everything. I placed the call and made one household happy and ours very sad.


The nice man and preteen beauty pulled up in a familiar truck and bounded out towards Polar while my son and I held his collar. What happened next took us all by surprise. I released my grip on the collar and Polar took off running into the dark night away from his owners and out of sight! My boy took chase as we all called out and whistled and pleaded for Polar to come back. I stood in stunned silence as the man explained that his dog was afraid of his truck. He explained how the dogs loved to run and his 3 acres just were not enough. He asked me where the water source was that Polar drank from? He told me that the gardener had left the electric fence off and that 3was how they escaped. He also said he loved the dogs but they took off all the time because that is what the breed did. I did not tell him that Polar slept over curled on a blanket on the patio. I did not tell him that Polar only ran when it was morning jog time and to chase my car up the driveway as I drove away. I watched him turn around and wait under the olive tree until I returned. I definitely did not tell him that he lay at my feet or outside the front door all day long and never ran away from here. Till now. And I definitely did not tell him we had fallen in love with his dog.


After 15 awkward minutes we decided they should go home and when Polar returned (as I was sure he would) I would call them to come back and not bring the dog out until the engine was off. We turned to enter the house as they walked to the truck. I opened the door and there in my foyer sat Polar. One ear to the door waiting for the first family to leave? I feel like I turned him over to the enemy somehow. I was so excited to see him that I shouted out and just like that he was gone. The most talkative dog in the world, had not said a word. I am pretty sure Polar ran from the front of the house straight to the back, jumped the fence and entered the house through Evan's open slider. All the time we were calling him and talking about him, he sat safely in the house of his second family. He thought he had outsmarted the system. I ratted him out. Now the little girls don't cry themselves to sleep. We have agreed as a family, that if Polar ever breaks through the electric fence and returns to us, he will be ours...

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Random Writing


I want to write this blog and have it be knitting related, and life relating. So, while relating to life I will be sharing some stories that have little to do with knitting.

I wanted to share a photo of our recent trip to Michigan. The time spent on the boat with John and Roxanne was restorative. I want you to notice the displacement of the water in front of the freighter as it passes us. It has power and undeniable presence in the water. Water is a force with a power and strength I respect in the truest sense of the word. When the freighter is full it sits low in the water and moves slowly. When it has off-loaded it's cargo it picks up speed and sits up high on the river. Sometimes I move through the world with a force that displaces everything around me. Other times I glide along and feel light and carefree. I have recently been sitting low and slow. My apologies if you have been displaced...

TKGA

Day 1, the TKGA was very interesting. The market was smaller than I expected. The vendors were high quality and I bought $400 worth of yarn. Cheers to that. Discounts all around. The very good news on the floor was Joan Michael McGowan's booth. I have been coveting a pattern from her book and admiring it knit up on the back of Cia B from the guild. I just did not think it wise to buy a 30 dollar book for the love of one pattern. Believe me, I have a shelf full of those one night stands. It reminds me of the cavalier days of spending money with no censure. Bittersweet my friends, bittersweet. Back to Joan MM- she had the pattern for sale individually and the yarn to go with it! As soon as I get beyond my sale in November, I'm knitting this.

Day 2 saw Mr. G off to San Jose and IBM for meetings bright and early. Room service every morning is what a hotel is all about for my special boy. Brynn arrived from Monterrey and the young ones hopped on the BART to explore the city. There was a wonderful Farmers Market on the street 1 block from the hotel. We wandered and enjoyed for an hour. Lunch was delicious. The kids went back to the rooms to rest and I took up a couch in the bar and knit all afternoon. I met a lovely crocheter from Long Beach and a business man from LA. Mr. G joined us and we stayed in the bar until dinnertime. My favorite kind of knitting is always anything I'm knitting paired with the perfect glass of wine. That evening was the award ceremony for the knitting guilds that were over 10 years old. The only other person from our guild in attendance was there to teach. Colleen Davis is the founder of the guild and a well known talent in our world. She was under the weather and unable to receive the award, so it fell to me. Great cake, nice group of ladies and a gift for everyone in attendance. German sock yarn in a red color way. I got out of there early and met the gang at a Thai restaurant for a spicy ending to the evening.

Day 3 was the Griswold's do San Francisco. We drove into the city to satisfy Ryan's desire to see the "Full House" world he came to love on television. His sister had all the addresses from Google and Mapquest. Pictures were snapped hastily. My special boy in his autistic way won't allow us to stop and refuses to get out of the car while sight-seeing! So we always say, " take a picture in your head with your memory camera " and off to the next sight. It was a crystal clear day so we drove over and back on the Golden Gate bridge. Then we headed to Fisherman's Wharf for lunch. Steamed crab overlooking the fishing boats was very nice. Kudos to the wonderful waitress that brought me 2 for one drinks and told me she had a son with CP and understood the need for a Pina Colada at noon. We really ordered it for Ryan to take the edge off of his manic anxiety and non stop stream of loud talking. At 26 he is legal and occasionally he likes a sweet cocktail to sip. After lunch and without any quieting affect for the boy, we decided to split up and take Ryan home on the BART so the kids and Dad could explore Haight Ashbury. As we descended down the escalators and bought our tickets a train passed through the tunnel and the rush of the winds subsided, Ryan decided he was scared and couldn't ride the scary ride. Brynn pulled an I pushed and the train started up and we were propelled down the aisle were 3 seats presented themselves. We made it! Back at the hotel, he and Sis fell into deep sleep and I prepared to attend the dinner and fashion show.

To the elevator. Dressed up, with my official name tag and ticket around my neck. A petite woman in the corner of the elevator was curious about the meaning of the neon green ribbon attached to my neck that read "anniversary". We had a 20 floor ride to talk. She was lovely and friendly and her name is Elizabeth EDWARDS. As in: wife of John Edwards for President fame. If you think she looks fat on TV, let me assure you, she is tiny. Remind me, to never appear on television. I felt like an amazon woman next to her. She was with one other woman ,(no entourage) and she was in town to promote a children's charity she supports. The TKGA dinner paled in comparison to my brush with fame.

Day 4 involved packing, and one more trip to the market place. I wanted more yarn to make another shawl just like the one I finished last night. I got a lot of knitting done this weekend. I completed a shawl, a handbag, one sock and a scarf. Read the whole book for book club and met a glass maker on the floor that was a delight. He will be in Del Mar in 2 weeks if anyone wants his card. I bought some of his art for Christmas gifts and wanted Brynn and Brianna to pick out a piece. Mission accomplished, we loaded the car, said goodbye to my girl and set off for a direct drive down the 5. No zigzags this time...

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Life is A Blur

How did it become October? The family trip to the TKGA meeting in San Francisco was a success. We packed the car with 5 people and luggage for 8. My husband, AKA, Mr. Griswold or Mr. G for short, did all the driving. I must set the scene. Last Wednesday evening following Knitwits, I picked up my son's girlfriend and headed home to do laundry, pack and clean.(I am abnormally compelled to leave a clean house when I travel.) It adds to the to-do list, yet somehow makes me more peaceful. We arrived at the house at 10 pm and I set to work. I handed out the lists to each member of the road trip with their contributions outlined.They got to work and to bed. The alarm was set for 4 am with an estimated time of departure of 5 am. The only proven way to get through LA in decent time. Everyone was bedded down by 11 pm and I finished up loading the car and my preparations by 2:30. I decided to shower and do my hair and get dressed and lay on the couch until the alarm went off. Perfect so far!

We actually departed at 5 am, drove through McDonalds for breakfast and the road trip officially began. Feeling smug and accomplished, I fell into a deep sleep. I awoke more than an hour later as we stopped at a toll booth to pay the toll. Toll??!! There are no tolls on the I-5. My dear hubby exclaimed that he thought we were taking the scenic route to San Francisco through Monterey and he had been heading to Santa Barbara. Mr G turned the car east and north and managed to lose about 45 mins to the rush hour as we made our way to the 5. Safely heading north and no longer sleepy(yelling is so invigorating), I decided to work on a tricky sock pattern that required all of my attention. The kids behind me were sleeping and Mr. G was driving while our handicapped son was playing the radio and calling out any recognizable landmarks. We were making great time and I never looked up. Just kept knitting until I began to get a call from nature. I glanced up to ask Mr. G to consider a rest stop when I noticed we weren't in Kansas anymore, Toto. This sure did not look like I-5 to me. Sure enough we had been zooming along the 99 making incredible progress towards Fresno! We had to stop, bathrooms and food and disbelief were all in order. We checked the map and found a road to take us 58 miles back west to the I-5 and resumed our j0urney. Mr. G is so mellow you would think he had planned this entire field trip. Evan was happy to have more time in the backseat with his lovely girlfriend and Ryan was oblivious to the time or the mileage. Me? I sure was getting some knitting done!

We arrived safe and sound, checked into our adjoining rooms on the 20th floor of the Marriott Hotel and unpacked. I went down to register for the 4 day meeting and scope things out. When I came back to the room everyone was sleeping. Nothing for me to do but knit. We freshened up and had a great dinner at Le Cheval. Brynn called to ask us to bring a list of things with us when we came up tomorrow and it fell to me to inform her we were already "up". She had our arrival date mixed up and when she realized she was supposed to be there in the morning, hung up to rearrange her schedule? Seems like people just did not get the memo. I read my book club selection- Water for Elephants, while the boys retired to their room and we ladies tucked in for the night. Exhausting...