Monday, February 25, 2008

The Home

Both of my sisters are involved in the caretaking of elderly mothers-in-law. Well, one of them isn't that elderly--she's only 20 years older than I am and damnit, that's not elderly. But she needs some assistance and she's getting it.

Anyway, I mentioned to my oldest daughter that I'd seen her future in my crystal ball--caretaking me in my dotage. Daughter immediately set me straight: "Oh, no way! You're going right to The Home!"

Oh, thanks.

Well, anyway, the laugh's on her, or it will be, because there's no money for the home. And by the time I need it, my social security check probably won't cover a week's groceries, much less long-term insurance. In fact, if I don't quickly get a J-O-B, there won't be health insurance either, and will she be sorry then!

But I do have two words for my darling daughters, or whoever ends up getting stuck with my care... WAXING. Oh, wait, that's only one word. Okay, RELENTLESS WAXING. Because that's going to be the most important part of my nursing care as far as I'm concerned. Waxing, tweezing, plucking, shaving, whatever it takes.

I read the other day that thinning hair has become a widespread problem for post-menopausal women in the last few years. And I'm one of those women who has noticed that lately there is a Barbie-pink bowling ball under my hair. I can accept that--it's not ideal, but I can live with it. Like wrinkles and crows feet, I've earned it. And I suspect that it's my Higher Power's payback for all those men I laughed at with their bad rugs and combovers.

What I can't accept is that, even as my head takes on the aspect of a tonsured monk, there is enough hair on my chin and upper lip to make into a small coat for Barbie. Even my eyebrows have begun to resemble one of those photos of a 1945 union organizer or a Russian government official. Now, there's just something that's not right about that. And, yes, I know there are people who spin their dogs' hair but I'm not ready for that, so don't suggest it.

But it's changed the way I live. For instance, I now carry a spare Tweezerman tweezer with me at all times. Some people worry they won't have on clean underwear when they have an accident--I worry that I'll be driving 70 MPH on a highway somewhere and find an aberrant hair that ... I ... MUST ... GET ... RID ... OF ... RIGHT... NOW! (And it's a fact that if you don't get it immediately, it will turn transparent and limp and you'll never be able to find it again, until you're in a major meeting, making a presentation to the Board of Directors, and it will suddenly and magically reappear, looking like a size 13 black aluminum knitting needle hanging down from under your chin.)

And let's face it, those rear-view mirrors are just about useless for tweezing, especially at highway speeds. Forget cellphone usage as the major contributor to highway accidents--if truth be told, half the women drivers over 40 are spending more time tweezing than cellphoning in their cars.

The equipment in my house is suddenly inadequate. The mirror over my vanity, all 30 square feet of it, is not large enough. The five lights over the mirror are not bright enough. The vanity is too deep, so when I find the little devils, I can't get close enough to the mirror to see them clearly. So I use the lighted makeup mirror, and the 5X magnification makes me look like a straw-stuffed scarecrow.

And back to those tweezers. I have about 27 of them, at least six on the vanity in various sizes and strengths, some pointed, some slanted, and one straight across, two in each suitcase I might use, one in each purse, two in each cosmetic bag, and at least one in my knitting bag. (What else would you use to pick out that provisional cast on?)

By the way, there's nothing worse than completing the morning reconnaissance--On Hair Patrol, as it were--and having the lady who does your pedicure say, in a hushed voice, "you want wax today, right, miss?" That's a sure sign that you missed at least one, and probably a whole field of them. God help you if you say no--then you get that pitying look that says, "okay, but you'll be sorry!"

I know my daughters. They say now that they'll pluck, but I know them. In time, they'll grow weary of the whole process, or more likely, they'll have discovered their own herd of hairs by then and they'll be self-focused. I'll be sitting on my sleeping bag, under the bridge, which is where people who haven't saved enough for The Home end up, and some fat, bald, toothless hobo will stop in his tracks to tell me there's a giant caterpillar under my nose. Oh, yeah, I can hardly wait.

Lightning Update

I've shared with some of you my concerns for Lightning, my oldest baby who will be 12 next week, and who appears on the upper right corner of this blog. She's my avatar on Ravelry, because her sweet face makes me smile every time I see it. Anyway, for those of you who have been kind enough to ask, here's the update.

Two weeks ago, Lightning's left rear leg was suddenly and inexplicably swollen, to the point that I actually wondered if she'd dislocated her hip. Her whole leg was pointing west, and she was obviously uncomfortable. The vet diagnosed it as an infection and gave her antibiotics. A week later, there was little improvement except that she had become really adept at walking on three legs. Not good.

Anyway, I took her to the vet a week ago today and he agreed that she wasn't progressing the way he had hoped. He took a fluid sample (from the infection site) and sent it off to the pathologist. Today the results came back--VERY not good.

The initial diagnosis seems to be possible mast cell tumor. This is apparently the most common type of cancer in dogs, and most seem to occur in the hind quarters. Who knew? She's scheduled for a full biopsy and removal of the tumor (if possible) next Monday. At that point, more samples will go to the pathologist and we'll find out prognosis and course of treatment. At 12 years old, it's not quite as simple as if she was much younger. We'll try to make the best decisions for her, based on input from the professionals as well as our extended family members, all of whom love her.

So, to all of you wishing Lightning well, please keep thinking of her. She's a truly wonderful friend and companion to the Pug Family. Thank you for your concern and your love.

Monday, February 04, 2008


It's About Time! Snow in Sedona. I really didn't want to go home before I'd baptized those new boots with snow. We got a nice dusting Saturday night and it's snowing again this morning. We went to church and there were very few people. Apparently even in Sedona, a little snow on the ground keeps folks inside.
By the time we got out of church, however, there was a lot of activity. (Maybe it was just an excuse to miss church?)
I drove up to the airport, which is one of the best places to get a total view of the town and took the first picture. Very cold and windy up there! Brrrr.
Then I drove up Rodeo Drive toward Capitol Bluff and took more pictures. I love the way the mountain just disapears into the snow.
(Surely you didn't think I was going to say "Finally...the Giants won the Super Bowl" did you?)I'm a passionate football fan but was not excited about this game at all. I'm tired of all the hype about the Pats and their "perfect year" (which turned out to be a little less-than-perfect) and I'm not a fan of the Manning boys (either of them!). I wanted to see Brett Favre in a Super Bowl, if you want to know the truth. So I watched the game for the ads mostly. (We loved the Doritos ad with the mouse but that didn't make any of the Top Ten lists.)
Anyway the outcome was fine, in my opinion. The Pats, who beat my beloved Carolina Panthers in the 2003 Super Bowl that I attended, are vanquished for the time being, and we won't have to hear much more about their perfection. On the other hand, there will be a lot of talk about the Manning tradition, and how Peyton and Eli were fed quarterback milk at their father's breast. (Okay, it's not possible, but to hear all the talk, you'd think Archie was capable of that, along with QB'ing the Saints back in the day.) Anyway, it's an okay trade off.
If the Pats are your team, better luck next year. As for me, I need to put my attention on the draft--the Panthers and the Falcons need some new blood!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Mining for Yarn

I set off yesterday, rather later than I'd planned, to find a wonderful yarn shop my sister and I visited two years ago, up in the mountains in a funky little former mining town called Jerome. I'd been to Jerome two or three times, but I'd never been the driver, and I didn't have a good sense of how close it is to Sedona. What I did remember was the windy road to the town and my memory was good on that point.

Jerome is about 25 miles from Sedona as the crow flies but no crow ever flew in such circles. The road winds up the mountain--not quite as curvy as the switchbacks up Oak Creek Canyon, but still a little iffy when someone who knows where they're going comes whipping down the other lane toward you.

Anyway, the drive was lovely, Jerome was easy to find, and I enjoyed the trip. Once I got there, I had a few anxious minutes trying to remember where the shop itself is. I remembered that, when we were there before, just about the time Deirdre was learning to knit, we trekked around the town quite awhile before we found the shop, up a level from the street and down a level from the restaurant where we had lunch (Hamburger Heaven). Today I was on my own...could I find the shop by myself?

Here's the view from below the town. You can see the little town nestled up on the hill. What you can't see is the double-S one-way road that takes you through all those little buildings. It's also an old biker haven, and is an interesting mix of restored history and some buildings that look like they haven't changed in over a hundred years. It is NOT one of those cutesy, faux "olde" towns--it's still a little rough and ready with lots of shops and a very welcoming atmosphere.

I parked in an area I thought looked familiar and walked up some stairs, then down some more, and there it was, right in the middle!

Knit 1 Bead 2 is squeezed into a little landing between the street and the hamburger restaurant, on a level that also has a tiny park and playground. If you didn't know what you were looking for, you might never find it. Does it looks unprepossessing? Well, check out the inside!

The shop is about 60% yarn and 40% beads. It's not a big shop, and every single nook and cranny is filled with something beutiful. The yarn is all organized by color, a little daunting at first but fun once you get the idea. When you see 70 cubic feet of fabulous red--including everything from Habu to handspun--it's incredible. And lots of knitted samples. I saw some fabulous shawls that looked like they would probably be too warm for Atlanta but perfect for the cool Arizona days and nights. There was a round sunflower shawl that I meant to get the pattern for but forgot...maybe I can email the owner.

BUT...I had promised myself that I wouldn't buy anything on this trip that I could buy at home. Only local yarn would go home with me. You remember that I got lucky in Sedona with that Sedona-dyed silk noil lace yarn. And I got just as lucky in Jerome. Check this out:

Yes, before you ask, that IS roving in the middle. I couldn't resist...I keep thinking that if I ever have a little time to practice, I WILL be able to use that spindle. It's Jerome hand-dyed. And, yes, that IS sock yarn and yes, I remember that we agreed (well, I agreed) there would be no more sock yarn. But how could I resist yarn labeled "Creatively Hand Dyed by my friend, Diane"? The "my" refers to Knit 1 Bead 2's very creative owner, Erica Raspberry. Unfortunately she wasn't there, but her able assistant Lisa was very helpful and lots of fun to talk to.

(And before you ask, I think that sock yarn would look great as one of those ubiquitous multidirectional scarves.)

I had so much fun schmoozing with Lisa that it was a shock to realize that it was after 5 pm. Dark comes early in the west, and I didn't want to be crawling down that mountain after dark. I bid a hasty goodbye and jumped into the car. On my way out of town, I stopped for a few pictures--I couldn't resist the contrasting views--long views toward the mountains and views of the valley below.

You can see that the sun was getting ready to set on those red rocks as I came back through Cottonwood and home to Sedona.

Today we go to knit with the church knitting group--I'm working on a toddler sweater for the CIC challenge out of some beautiful handspun by one of the church members.

After that, I'll start on my list of "things I absolutely have to do before I leave." I've been here for 3 weeks--how could I still have things to do? Well, you know me...I do.

In Hanami news, blogging about it seems to have had a good effect. Yesterday I sat down on the couch and plugged away and I'm through all 8 repeats of the basketweave chart and I'm about halfway through the transition chart. Then on to Charts A-G. I figure I'm about one-third done, which is about right for something that's supposed to be ready by the end of March. So, maybe I'm back on schedule, or as much of a schedule as I can manage.