Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Change of Scene

After staying on our lot in Benson for over 7 weeks, Don was getting itchy feet. Or, as we say in the RV world, “hitch itch.” Together we had scheduled 4 different medical appointments in Tucson during a 10-day period. We figured it would be better to make one round-trip with the motorhome rather than 4 round-trips with the car. And we could do some Christmas shopping, see a movie or two, and enjoy some different restaurants in the big city. So we prepared the motorhome for moving, hitched up Carrie the car and drove 42 miles to the Davis-Monthan AFB FamCamp.


We had no trouble getting a full-hookup site, which is unusual in this popular park. Normally we have to park in overflow without hookups for at least a day or two while waiting for a FHU site to open up. In fact, we’ve never seen it with so many empty sites, like these two right in front of us.


The weather has been beautiful, warmer than Benson and with very little wind. The desert is shining in the sunlight.

The first appointment was mine, early Monday morning, with a dermatologist. I had noticed a few spots on various parts of my body that looked a little strange for one reason or another. Since both my parents had several bouts of skin cancer, I keep an eye on own skin. Dr. Tracy Thomas, whom I had seen before, has moved on to another practice so I saw Dr. Kay (Strickland, but the clinic just uses first names).

She wasn’t concerned about the spot I thought was the most suspicious, but she didn’t like the one on my right eyebrow that felt like only a small scab but it wasn’t healing after several months of being present. And she found another one on my left eyebrow that I hadn’t even noticed. Both are Seborrheic Keratoses (SK), which are common, non-cancerous (although she said they are pre-cancer) growths. Having more than one at a time is also common. They are also known as ‘barnacles’ because they can resemble the look of barnacles stuck to ships. (Makes me feel like an old scow, sitting forgotten in the water!)

The treatment Dr. Kay used was cryosurgery, using liquid nitrogen to freeze the SKs. It hurt and stung at first, but the pain was reduced after I got home and trimmed my bangs so they didn’t touch the painful areas. I’m not including pics on purpose because of the slight swelling of my eyebrows, plus seeing me without eyebrow makeup isn’t a pretty sight! The resulting scabs should form and be cleared up within the next two weeks, then I’ll be ready to pose in pics again!

The only downside to moving to Tucson for this period is that Shadow had an early-morning appointment with the vet at the Benson Animal Hospital yesterday. Don made that round-trip in the car and let me sleep in a bit – Thanks! Shadow has been tested for Valley Fever and cancer, and has neither, thankfully. But he’s still coughing and so is still on antibiotics and special food. Some of the meds he’s taking include steroids, plus he really likes the new food, both of which have caused him to gain weight. So we’re now trying to cut down on the quantity of food and getting him to walk more. And, at the vet’s suggestion, we’ve introduced green beans as a treat. At first he wouldn’t eat them, but now he seems to like them. Great – they’re low fat and good for him.

My wrist is now almost completely healed from the De Quervain’s syndrome, after having surgery on Nov. 5. So I’ve started to knit and crochet again, using simple projects to get used to the motions again. I knitted a shawl and a scarf.


Then I got inspired to make crocheted bowls, so I pulled out my stash of cotton yarn and made a few using a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. Maybe I’ll even make some bigger baskets and/or bags.


In the process of looking for ideas and patterns for these bowls, I discovered a new technique that might be of interest to my friends who crochet. If you’re not a crocheter, you can stop reading now.

To start crocheting in the round, make an adjustable ring. You can follow the link to the online instructions, and here’s how I made mine: first, create the ring following the instructions and crochet the required number of stitches into it.


Then pull the free end of the loop to tighten up the ring so you can join the end stitches and begin the next round of crochet stitches.


Cool! This proves a crafter is never too old to learn something new. I’ll never go back to making traditional crochet rings!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Concert

On Saturday evening, we enjoyed attending a concert performed by the Escapees Saguaro Co-op Choir, held in the clubhouse. Our friend Pat Livingston had told us about it, as she was one of the singers, and had been attending choir practice twice a week since she arrived in October.

The clubhouse was decorated nicely, with 3 trees covered with ornaments made and donated by Escapees members.


The trees were particularly beautiful when their lights shone with the room’s lights lowered.


And the backdrop on the stage was decorated, as well.


There was an almost SRO audience, with plenty of goodies to eat (sorry no pics of the food).


The choir members were dressed up, wearing combinations of black/white/red for the occasion.


They all did a wonderful job. Pat’s taller than most of the others, so she stood out from the crowd, looking beautiful as she sang her part.


The choir director chose quite a variety of pieces, some of which the audience was invited to join in and sing with the choir. The program included a wide range of familiar standards and unusual pieces we hadn’t heard before.


Outside, on the hill to the west I noticed the simple star and Saguaro shining in the dark.


What a lovely evening!