Carla Ives

Jul 052024
That Fateful Morning

On July 5th, 2023, at approximately 9:30 in the morning, I dutifully hopped (HAH) up into my seat in Levi (our very large Nissan Armada lovingly nicknamed Leviathan) like I was going to the supermarket. Except I wasn’t. At the age of 70 years, 8 months and 9 days I was leaving everything I’d known for decades to start a new life. I was nervous. That’s a fib. I was downright petrified. I managed to hide it from the others in the car, did some industrial strength edibles (legal where we came from and where we were headed) and sat back for the longest ride I’ve taken in eons.

The ride should have taken 5ish hours according to Google’s wisdom. Google apparently doesn’t consider bumper-to-bumper traffic and dizzying mountain roads. It took 9 hours. . . in a car with three adults, one hyper, autistic 5-year-old, an almost hundred-pound dog, and as much crap as we could cram in every nook and crannie. Not something I want to repeat any time soon.

But at approximately 6:30 pm, we pulled up in front of the house we rented sight unseen from a distance of five states away. It looked just like the pics. And just to show what a great neighbor I was going to be, I fell going UP the front steps and passed out not once but twice, proving to the neighbors that I was capable of providing quality entertainment. A UPS guy going down the street, jammed on his brakes, left his truck in the middle of the street and ran over to help. Neighbors came running. My daughter panicked and called the paramedics. They were super nice. After making sure I was just a clumsy old lady and not brain damaged (debatable), they wished us well and left.

That Night and Morning

I didn’t sleep much that first night. We were on a very nice inflatable mattress. . . that leaked. Every hour or two one of us had to turn the handle to pump it up. I don’t think I would have slept well in any case. I kept rehashing the past year or two in my mind, the hunt for finding a new place to live before we were out on the street where we were due to the high prices of everything. I knew we didn’t have much time left. The money was running out. Then this house appeared in one of our desired locations. Then it was gone. They told us it was rented. Then I saw it again. Called and was told their renter backed out at the last second. Got everything moving and. . . we had a new place to live within a VERY short time. Everything went so fast my head spun. We e-signed the lease on June 17th and on July 5th here we were.

Waking up that first morning was strange. I didn’t know where I was for a split second and then it was like, “Oh yeah.” The first thing I noticed was that the air smelled really good. I heard the neighbor on one side leave for work. Good morning things. We only had with us what we could cram into Levi but you can bet the coffee pot was in there. Ahhhhh yesssss. . . .

Keep Going

A day or two later, my husband made the long trek back to pick up what I thought was a very large U-Haul trailer that we had packed before that fateful morning. Except it didn’t fit. . . not all of it. He ended up making four trips back. Every trip back costs me approximately $200 in gas plus the cost of whatever trailer we had on the car. We were trying to save money by NOT using a moving company. It ended up costing more, not to mention the wear and tear on certain old folks. NOTE TO SELF: Just hire the damn movers next time. Plus, moving is not a good sport for a 73-year-old man, not in good shape, who shouldered most of the moving burden. We were blessed with good friends who drove four hours to help us unload two of the trailers. Grateful.


Today is a year since that fateful day. This place is an actual city, but a VERY friendly one. We were used to the back woods. Lots and lots of resources here. We’ve established ourselves gradually here. The people are phenomenal. They are friendly beyond belief, NOT something I was used to. So. . . is it home yet? Not really, but it’s getting there.

Starting over at 70. It CAN be done. You might do it kicking and screaming, like I did. If you need to go, though, step out. It’ll be okay.

Jul 022024

I’m sure I’m not telling you anything new when I say we live in an expensive economy these days. If you have lots of $$$$, by all means buy what you want and what makes you feel good. If you’re retired or on any other type of fixed income, though, shopping can give you the DTs. Trust me. I know. Sadly, there is no longer money for some of the expensive items I love. Thank God I never bought too many, but there are a few. Now I’m learning to give the rest of them up by learning to live out of the Dollar Store.

I wish I could tell you this was my idea. Well, saving money was my idea, but then I found a lady on You Tube, Vivian Tenorio, who does this channel called Vivian Tries. And that’s exactly what she does. She tries out the dupes from the el cheapo stores, mostly Dollar Tree. Yeah, I know it’s the Buck-and-a-Quarter Tree now, but. . . . still much cheaper than most of the places I used to shop. So I watch her. And then I watch her again. She’s also on Facebook under her name.

Now this is all well and good except for the fact that Vivian is a pretty YOUNG lady. Her needs are not the same as my 72-year-old wrinkled needs. But I DO use her as a jumping off point to see what’s new at Dollar Tree and what I might be able to use. I should point out here that I also have very sensitive skin along with the dry, so. . . not everything works for me.

Surprisingly, I’ve been able to use many of the products she reviews. I was just as surprised as you are. I thought it would all go straight into the trash. Tossing a $1.25 product is much easier than tossing a $40 product. Dare I say Estee Lauder? Hmmm. . . .but things don’t always work for me due to weirdo allergies and the aforementioned sensitive skin. Once I find a product that works, I usually stick with it. As they say. . . That Was Then, This is Now.

So if you’re looking to save some money, ride along with me on this new journey. Mainly, I will be reviewing personal care items, but Dollar Tree and other discount stores carry a variety of useful products. In particular, Dollar Tree has a line of recently-introduced goods called “Personal Care.” And let me tell you, they’re not too shabby.

Join me in the shower on my next post. WAIT!!!! That didn’t sound too good. 😂🤣🤣😂 But I will be starting with shower products. And if you want to check Vivian out prior to subscribing to her channel, click below. You won’t regret it.

The adventure awaits!!!!

Apr 182024

I’ve been knitting since I was five years old. My Grandpop taught me one rainy afternoon with 4 pencils and a ball of string. Yeah, I was going in circles even back then. LOL I found a book in the Five & Dime and taught myself to crochet two years later. I don’t think Grandpop knew what he created. I spent every waking moment as a child either knitting or crocheting something. All my money went to buy yarn. In high school, I was crocheting bikinis for all the skinny girls out of crochet cotton. Lining them, too! I knit enough socks to outfit an Army.

Fast forward to the present day. My age now starts with a seven and. . . well, that was then and this is now. I can barely follow a pattern. My arthritic fingers won’t make the intricate movements they once did. I still love yarn, but making anything that resembles what it’s supposed to be can be challenging. I had to develop some coping mechanisms or give it up. HORRORS!!!! So here are three tips for older yarn crafters. They help me. I hope they help you.

Two words: Stitch Markers

I can’t count a starting chain or a row of stitches to save my life these days. I simply lose track of the count. Stitch markers to the rescue! I have the kind that hook so you can use them on either knitting or crochet. If I need a long starting chain, I’ll put a marker on that chain every 10 or 20 (if I’m feeling lucky!) stitches. Makes counting and going back to recount much easier. These things are life savers if your brain these days has a lot in common with the spaghetti strainer.

Write It Down

Yeah, yeah, I know. We all think we can still remember. Funny. I do a lot of You Tube video tutorials without a written pattern so. . . . if I put it down for too long I can easily forget what I’m doing. Especially the ends and beginning of rows. I’m okay figuring out the pattern in the middle from what’s been done, but turning that row and starting the next one oftentimes goes in one side of my brain and out the other. I now keep some colored index cards at my desk or in my bag and I write down the end of one row and the beginning of the next. Just in case. You can also keep a small notebook by you if that works better.

Let the Yarn Carry the Project

I used to pride myself on elaborate and difficult stitches, in both knit and crochet. If I try it now, all I get is a big knotted mess. I just can’t do it anymore. But what I CAN do is buy fancy yarn. There are so many beautiful yarns out there, both cheap ones and more expensive, that have gorgeous patterns and colors on them. There are variegated yarns, speckled yarns, ombre yarns, sparkly yarns, hand-dyed luxury yarns and yarns that change color by themselves like Caron Cakes. Start using them. I now select easy stitch patterns with a one or two row repeat and let the yarn carry the day. Trust me. They come out looking beautiful and you aren’t ripping out your last gray hair along with your project.

Whatever you do, please don’t give up. The world needs us yarn crafters even if we’re a little slower and clumsier than we were in our youth. You can still make beautiful things. You just have to find ways that work for you. I did. Now it’s your turn. If you have any other tips for this ‘ole gal, please leave them in the comments.

Mar 052023

Are you getting up there in age? Do you feel like you’re spinning the wheel on your favorite game show every time you have to pick your birth year from one of those dropdown menus? Yeah, mine is way down there, too. But before I start ranting, let me say that aging sure beats the alternative. So many were not permitted to get old and that’s sad. I’m really not complaining. BUT when your younger self was so diametrically opposed to what you are becoming today, well. . . sometimes it just pisses me off. Here are three of my top contenders in the “Things That Suck About Getting Older” category.

A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Lose

Dear God, what happened to my brain? I kept a family of seven running for years without a planner or reminders of any kind. I knew all their schedules, appointments, needs and it was all stored in my head. You know what’s in there now? Some giant colander and the holes keep getting bigger and bigger.

Case in Point: I’ve been doing legal transcription for over 30 years. I know all the key strokes by heart. Well, I did. I’ll be in the middle of something, go to reach for the keys to produce the formatting I need and. . . TILT!!!! What the hell was I doing? I mean, it’s THAT bad. And I think that’s one of the worst parts of this, forgetting things I’ve been doing for decades. UGH

Slowly I Turned. . .

For those of you who’ve never watched Abbott & Costello or the Three Stooges, Slowly I Turned is an old vaudeville routine that they picked up, along with many other performers. Slowly I turned, inch by inch, step by step. . . . and so forth and so on. I’ve inserted it down below in case you’ve never seen it.

Sadly, though, SLOWLY is how I am forced to do everything now. Me and my little butterball butt used to skip right along and almost run to do everything. Man, I was quick! People used to comment on it all the time, not understanding how someone my size could run around like that. But I did. Now? Hardy Har Har. If I tried to run anywhere or even race walk I’d be face down on the concrete. In fact, I oftentimes am face down on the concrete. Forget about heels and hot shoes. My footwear wardrobe now consists of fashion sneakers and boots (without heels).  ARGH

Packaging Is Evil

In my younger days I used to shred and rip with the best of them. No package could stand up to me!!!! Trust me when I tell you that they now have nothing to fear. I usually just hand the package to my husband and he opens it. If I ever have to do it alone, there will be carnage all over the floor as I take a knife and/or scissors to the damn thing!!!! And medicine? HAH!!!! Now to be perfectly honest here, medicines did not have the dastardly childproof caps on them in my younger days. And I don’t remember blister packs either.

Of course, the Tylenol scare of 1982 changed a lot of that. Yes, meds had to be made more secure but COME ON!!!! That blister pack looks like plastic, but I swear it’s IRON disguised as plastic. I don’t even try anymore. I just grab a scissors and slash and burn. Take THAT, Mr. Blister Pack!!!! And I’m sure we all know by now that any child can get into a “childproof” cap in about a half-a-second whereas it takes me. . . much longer. If I ever need that medicine in a hurry, start getting your outfits ready for my funeral. Nice bright colors, K? No black. UGH

There WILL Be More. . .

This is just what I could think of off the top of my head. There WILL be more, I’m sure. Day by day, sometimes hour by hour, I seem to be losing parts of my former self. However, I feel some of the best parts of me are still there and always will be. Hey, a girl can hope, right? 😎

For those who have never seen “Slowly I Turned,” here’s the Stooges version. . .

Sep 082022

It’s been said that everything old is new again. Boy, they’re not kidding!!! I just got an ad from Nordstrom. . . . yes, Nordstrom. NOT some fly-by-night retailer for the latest trend. Actually, I’ve seen these shoes all over the place. For those of us of an age, so to speak, remember these bad boys?  And for anyone who doesn’t know shoe brands, Sam Edelman is a luxury brand. I just went and looked. . . . those black puppies on the left are $150!!!!

I could barely lift my legs the first time these were out. Now? At almost 70? Who’s playing a joke on this ‘ole broad? Someone is and I bet they’re laughing. I’m not.

Yes, It’s My Age Talking

I like old shoes, yes, but not these old shoes. I like pumps, stiletto heels (even though my days of hoochie heels are long over), elegant shoes with maybe a jeweled shoe clip, wrap wedges from the 1940s and STYLE. I like Keds and P.F. Flyers in the summer. And, yeah, this is a style, but.  .  . UGH This clunky crapola can take a hike, in my NOT so humble opinion.

Who’s Wearing This Ca-Ca?

Go to any of the websites for the name brand clothing houses and you’ll find the answer. EVERYBODY! Well, everybody under the age of 50, at any rate. Are they comfy? Probably. I seem to remember they were. Do they add height to us short stacks? Yeah, they do. Am I gonna wear ’em? HELL NO! Unless I decide it’s leg day and I can’t make it to the gym.


Are there no new ideas out there under the sun for shoes? I realize feet are a basic shape and probably most styles of shoes have had a go ’round in the last couple of hundred years, but. . . why clunky, UGLEE shoes?

So. . . just for shitz & giggles, I went to Google Land and typed in “ugly shoes in history.”  Some of these are ancient, but a few of them are contemporary.  Maybe I should change my opinion on those Edelman loafers, eh? SIGH Okay, okay. You twisted my ankle. Now where the hell is my Nordstrom credit card? 😎