Saturday, September 15, 2007

Tenacity or Lost on the LA freeways

Have you ever heard of the saying that goes: Sometimes, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Have you? Um.....believe it. Especially when you THINK you know the LA freeways (only because you've lived here for 27 years) and you THINK you have a clue. Watch out, those phrases will jump up and bite you in a big old way. Big time.

Have you ever heard of full circle moments, or how things happen in life for a reason? Ya. Believe those, too. Big time.

And when you drive 60.1 miles to get to an event, in 2 hours and 41 mins, but only 25.6 miles and 34 mins to get home, ya. Believe them all!


This is all I got done today while listening to the Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Why?


Why? Well, to understand how this adventure began today, you'll have to know some back information. a) I've lived in the greater LA area since June, 1980. b) In 1984, we moved from Glendale to Orange County. c) For the next year, every time, and I mean EVERY FREAKIN' TIME!!!!!!!!!! I had to drive from LA back to the OC, I got lost. And not lost in an easy way, no no no! We're talking here majorly lost on the 10 freeway at rush hour. In the wrong direction. With a 1 and a 2 year old in car seats in the back seat. So much so that they refused to get into the car with me just to go around the block to grocery store. "NO Momma, no Momma, we don't want to get into the car!" OY!

I finally learned to read a map of Southern California and figured out where the major cities were in relationship to each other. (Back then, the freeways had names, not numbers. Freeways should ALWAYS have numbers.) Do you remember the old Johnny Carson sketch when he would put up a map and use a pointer talking about the LA freeways and the Slauson cut off? Ya. Looks like child's scribbling. Uh ha. That's what the freeways have been like to me. Give me a way to get lost and I promise I'll find it. On any given day. Twice.

Now that we've progressed from the Thomas guides to printing maps from Google, I was feeling pretty darned confident. (Like the time I was knitting a wool, sleeveless, t-neck last winter, and realized only AFTER cutting the yarn and weaving in the ends perfectly(for a change), that I'd done the wrong neckline and had now goofed up the amount of yarn needed. No problem I thought. I'll just add sleeves. Only to put the sleeves on to notice that there is a reason they tell you to watch your dye lots. Did you know that navy yarn isn't all the same shade? (can you see where this story is headed?) Put your feet up, get comfy, knit something while you read, grab a snicker's bar, it's going to be awhile.

Back to the story - last night I thought I was doing pretty good. I had my stuff pretty much all packed up, printed map in hand, just needed to decide which project to take. One for a deadline, one for fun. When the girls reminded me that they were not coming because they had gotten tickets to the Rascal Flatts concert, I let the LA SnB group know that I had 2 tickets available in case anyone was on the wait list and still wanted to come. Maggie was the first to respond. After a few emails back and forth, her suggestion was for me to take both of my projects. I like Maggie. Maggie just might be an Enabler. She said to bring all the projects! That's a good thing!

This morning started with an email from Denise in my in-basket. She would like to go, too! Cool, I thought, both tickets are taken, and we're on the way. Out the door I went, but since I GREATLY dislike the 5 freeway north (never fails, I get stopped dead on that freeway every freakin' time and then I'm late!-made me miss my daughter's first performance as a UCLA band member years ago. Moms don't like to miss their kids performing. That's not good.) I thought well, self. We can fix this. The directions say to go the 605 to the 5 to the 110 and get off at Grand Ave. Heck, UCLA and USC both have away games, freeways should be clear, I can do better! My car can do auto pilot to LAX and UCLA...I'll go to the 605 to the 105 to the 110 to Grand Ave. I don't need 'no stinkin' 5 freeway!' (uh ha....words...they bite ya!)

Tootling along the way, we errrr...I hit a not uncommon slow down on the 110. Not too bad I'm thinking...I've seen worse. Hey, we're still moving so all is good. Passing the Coliseum I call the oldest daughter..double check that the 5 meets the 110 NORTH of where I am and that I didn't think this through poorly. Yep, she says, I've got a little bit to go yet, but the 5 is north of where I am, and I'm heading in the correct direction. Freakin' fan-tastic I'm feeling.

What's that over there? A sign saying accident on the 101N, delay one hour! Whew, I'm thinking, thank goodness I don't have to go there! That would suck. I turn on the local news radio, to hear that there's a Dodger game this afternoon. Whew I think once more, thank goodness that's on the dreaded 5 freeway and I've been wise enough to avoid the 5 so I'm good to go. I've picked going up the 110 from the 105. Smart girl!

Suddenly, after realising that there's backed up residual traffic from the 101N (a house-yes, a HOUSE! was being moved and got stuck under an over pass and the tires blew out on the truck causing the back up) was slowing down the 110. Then, passing the 5 freeway, the backup from the Dodger game was causing some more traffic issues. (Issues-ha! It was stopped cold.) I started looking carefully for the Grand Ave exit. It's gotta be here. I'm now past the 5 and since the original directions called to go FROM the 5 to the 110, logic says I have to be near that exit. Right? Funny thing about logic. It can bite you down the road as well.

Next thing I know, I've passed Highland Park and am getting close to the Rose Bowl exits. This now, is.not.good! Somehow, I MUST have missed seeing the Grand Ave Exit. I still have about 35 mins to get there, I'll get off the freeway and turn around and I've gotta be able to find the exit if I take the 110 back to the 5. It's gotta be there somewhere, right? (Again. Logic. One would think so.)

Right about then my phone rings. It's Maggie. Hi Maggie, are you there yet? I'm lost. Do you have any idea how to get me there? Is there someone there that can help me figure this out? I'm on the 5 south freeway somewhere. Maggie, lovely Maggie, trusting Maggie, hands her cell phone over to Joyce who's the security officer at the event. We let them know to let Maggie into the room (tickets are under my name) so she can get her seat and I'm home free. Right?

*ahem* yaaaaaaaaa...right!

It gets better.

Joyce first thinks she heard me say I was on the 5 north. By the time we get that straightened out, I'm closing in on the city of Commerce. Off on Telegraph Rd, and onto the 710 to the 10 to the 110 - I'm going now. Off on Olympic and the new adventure begins. One ways, construction, drop the call signal where I later would learn was 1/2 block from the event, and I'm thinking that this doesn't look like anything on the map that I'd originally printed. I'm getting confused, but Joyce, bless her heart, won't get off the phone and has promised to stick with me until I get there. In fact, I'm hearing her tell two others that she was staying on the phone for this poor lady who's lost but just a couple of blocks away. Really I'm thinking..this doesn't feel right but at this point I'm so confused I put all my trust in Joyce. And I'm thanking my lucky stars that last night I'd offered up the tickets so Maggie would be able to call me so I could get help with this major 'getting lost trip' today. THANK YOU MAGGIE!

By the time I get Joyce back on the phone, twice, she's got me driving into the Central Library downtown. CENTRAL LIBRARY I say...yes, she says, this is where the event is today. Wait. This isn't the Mark Taper FORUM! Joyce laughs a little, and says, No, but it's the Mark Taper Auditorium! Wait, I remember seeing an exit on the freeway about an hour ago for the Library. ULG!

Now, imagine my shock when it dawns on me that even if I'd followed the printed directions I still would have never found the event! I'd printed directions to the WRONG PLACE! Immediately it struck me that had I not offered the tickets, had Maggie not responded last night, had we NOT exchanged cell phone numbers, had Maggie not allowed Joyce to stay on the phone to guide this lost soul into the parking garage. I (who's pretty much always knitted alone for 40 years) would have missed this:





The ability to sit and laugh and knit (check out their hands, they're all moving!) while Stephanie Pearl-McPhee talked long enough (thank you thank you)




for a girl who ALWAYS gets lost to gimp her way into the MARK TAPER AUDITORIUM (who knew there was a difference?) 49 mins late, to be able to hear Stephanie say:



Yarn, What yarn??????????????


Afterwards, being the last person to GET to this event, I was in no hurry to get into the line for the book signing. I was happy to sit for awhile in the nice, soft, comfy chairs and knit a bit. I asked a lady at the end of the line where to put the hats. We got to talking and I really liked the yarn she was using to kit up a log cabin blanket with. I thought she was changing colors to find out that her yarn had really long color changes. And it was cotton and it was SOFT! Now, understand that I know NO ONE here. So, can you imagine who this lady was? Come on now...full circle here. Get ready for it!
It's Denise! Denise from the tickets in the morning! Can you believe it? The two tickets that I offered at the last minute, one saved me on the freeways...and one was a lovely conversation while I was waiting my turn. What are the odds? Unfreakin' believable.
The story continues. (told you I tell long stories). How many snickers bars are you up to by now?
Time comes and the security guard comes to lock the door and Denise and I head for the end of the line where I reach into my bag to start knitting like everyone else. Only. My needle is missing. (figures) Gimp gimp back to the door, to find the security lady outside of the door. Wait, I need to get in for a quick moment, I think I left my needle there. Ummmmm shes says, I just locked the door. But my needle is in there! Okkkkkk, I guess I could get the keys. (I'm thinking she's not a knitter and she's not happy with me.) Back to the line I head thinking again, Thanks Maggie for the suggestion of more than one project, and out comes the baby blanket!
But wait, it gets better.
Finally, the line is nearly at the end and it's time to get the book signed and say our thank yous hand over the hats and head out the door.
But that would be too easy after all of this - huh? Denise takes the picture for me (sorry about the fuzzy on some of these, I MAY have dropped my lens this week and the auto focus won't work)
just about the time the security lady comes back with the keys to the Auditorium. I'm telling the amazingly shortened version of my 'I was the last person here, and Joyce was wonderful getting me here, after being on the phone forever with me, I have to go find her to thank her from the bottom of my heart." story, when the girl behind the counter says (ready for this?)
That's Joyce right there! and points to the security lady with the keys to be able to retrieve my lost needle! I begin to bow to Joyce and say, You're Joyce? I'm Cathy! and Joyce, poor Joyce, realizes who I am and that she's been taking care of my Lost Issues coming and going all day and gives me a look that brought the whole day together for me! She stopped and well, you know that look...the one that says...of course! Who else would need the additional help today! It couldn't have happened to ANYONE ELSE! (I tried to get Joyce's picture, but she declined.)
Another full circle moment today!
Moral of the stories....read the directions. Carefully. Both in knitting and driving and while you're at it.... Learn from someone else's mistakes..mine, for example.
So, tonight now that I'm home, and on the sofa, and have been getting text messages from the girls at their concert, I have to say a whole lot of Thank yous to lots of people!
1) Thank you Stephanie, for coming to town, for writing your books, and for the opportunity to sit in a room with so many other knitters knitting and laughing along together. It felt GREAT! to be in the company of so many knitters.
2) Thanks knitters for being who you are..Stephanie said it best through her stories today about the quality of knitters' and who they are.
3) Thanks to Maggie and Denise for the roles you unwittingly played in my saga today so I could get there and enjoy it all the more.
4) And last, but certainly not least...Thank you Joyce for getting me To the Mark Taper Auditorium (not the Forum) and home, and for letting me retrieve my lost needle.
I had a really good time, and I hope everyone there did as well. And thanks for letting me talk on and on (can you tell I was nervous) both there and in written story form.
I've been told I need to get out more often.
I think I agree.
Just not on the LA Freeways, please.
At least until I learn them better.
I have until October when Laurie's book comes out to figure out the correct directions.
This is how the freeways should be...and how they were on the way home. No slow downs, and no stopped traffic. Just clear sailing!
And if you're still here at the end of this saga....in other news...there was good and best news to be told today. Which would you like first?
ok....Good news...that 'unmentionable' team from last week...pulled one off...Thankgoodness! I was ready to tell them to shutter up the stadium and call it a year.
But, as much fun as it was today listening to Stephanie, and meeting others and laughing and knitting together..the best news came while I was waiting to get into line for the book signing...I called home to find out that MY DAD IS FINALLY HOME! after 12 days in the hospital, he was released at 9pm the other night and is finallyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy home! He's on a pic iv line, and Mom has been trained to give him his medication at home, but he's finally home! HOT DAMN!!!!!!!!!!!! It's about time!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you all for the emails and well wishes for him. He's home and still CANCER FREE! May that last a veryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy long time.
Now, as Stephanie would say...I think I need a little lie down. Or some screetch. (Do they even sell screetch around here?)

3 comments:

KSee said...

Oh, what a wonderful telling of your day/trip/adventure. Plus, you have that shot of you & Stephanie.
Fantastic news about your Dad!!!!

cindybmw2004 said...

The only thing I can say is I feel your pain. I've done the same thing over and over and everyone at work laughs when I call in and say can you tell me where I am and how to get back to work.....And Memphis isn't even that big! Just weird streets with the same names and end and pick up somewhere else. Happy to hear about your dad, tell him to take it easy and listen to the doctor! Take Care.

Marsha said...

I think you may have missed one of your "callings". I so enjoy your stories and your adventures out in LA LA Land. :-)
Now when your grandhildren are all around you feet and you're knitting, just imagine all the stories you can tell them.
Best Wishes and prayers still coming for your father and a complete recovery.