March 10, 2008

A far away city with a far away feel

When my Mom’s family originally moved to Tucson, my Mom was certain she’d been sent to hell. No trees. No running water. Just sand and rock and cactus as far as the eye could see. She came to appreciate the desert eventually, but I think her true love will always be for greener places.

I was born in Tucson and the desert still looks like home to me, in a way that New England probably never will. Perhaps that's why it never really struck me as a barren place. Barren or not, it is most definitely a desert - grey-green and brown and so dry that I resorted to using heavy-duty body lotion on my face after three days in the desert air.


But coming from grim late winter in Boston, it seemed positively bursting with life and greenery.


It’s just a prickly kind of life. And being a little prickly myself, I can respect that.


Adding to the impression of vigorous life, my aunt’s house was full of lively animals, much good conversation, and a lot of laughter. In my unbiased opinion, my aunt and uncles and family friends rate quite highly on the awesomeness scale.

I made sure to acquaint myself with their goats (non fiber-bearing, alas, but still awfully cute)…


And (from a respectful distance), their horses…


I also spent a lot of quality time with assorted dogs. This upped the ticking on my puppy-ological clock from a faint “someday” to an insistent “NOW NOW NOW RIGHTNOW.” I think I’m going through some sort of withdrawal now.

As for knitting, I spent a few nights doing this…


Why yes, that is the Irish Hiking Scarf. And no, I haven’t finished it. And yes, I am beginning to lose hope that I ever will finish it. Though even hopeless feels a lot less hopeless in front of a crackling fire, I must say.

I also finished the first repeat of the Twisted Flower sock, and I really feel like I accomplished something impressive.


Admittedly, this represents an entire cross-country plane ride, with layover, as well as two evenings of knitting, but I’m exceedingly pleased with my ability to sort out the mysterious twisty cable chart symbols. To the point where I may have crowed “Take that, bitches!” when I successfully executed the most complicated row of the pattern.

I even got some important shopping done. Tucson has the best thrift shops I’ve ever seen (I love you, Savers!). Plus there are excellent bookstores and charming Mexican import shops and a vigorous local foods initiative. We even had time to hit a few yarn shops, including one shop that we stumbled on entirely by accident.

My Mom and I are both fine shoppers on our own. But when we team up, we become an Unstoppable Shopping Machine. Thanks, Mom, for being such fabulous company (and for enabling me to give such a goodly boost to the Arizona economy).

More details on the Unstoppable Shopping Machine (Malabrigo! Folk art! Locally grown dyes!) when my camera cooperates by taking a picture that is both in focus and somewhat resembles the actual colors of anything I acquired on my trip.


Macoco said...

Welcome back! I can't wait to hear more about your vacation shopping. ;)

Also remind me to tell you about the song Mick wrote that features the beer pictured with your scarf.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful Twisted Flower sock. Good job with figuring out the pattern!

Sarah said...

Oh, it looks so warm and beautiful there. Sounds like such a great time. Welcome back.

Karen said...

Oh what a heavenly trip!! Your sock is gorgeous too. Wow!!

Siercia said...

I'm so excited to get to do a quickie fly in and out visit to Tucson tomorrow. It's been one of my favorite places ever since I visited my grandfather, who'd moved out there when I was a teenager. It absolutely feels like a place I belong, ever after being born and raised and lived in New England for my entire life. Someday, I'll live out West.

Olga said...

I love that sock, both the color and the pattern! Sounds like a really fantastic trip.

Anonymous said...

For an easterner, the desert is an acquired taste. It does have loveliness. I'm glad you got the change of scenery and boosted the economy. Are the rad socks really that green?

Jenny said...

Now, I am 100% like your mother. Deserts make me feel like I'm suffocating, however in my old age I am starting to appreciate the beauty of them, and I'm warming to them a bit. I think Tucson would be a wonderful place to visit, especially if you have awesome family members, beer, yarn stores and crackling fires. With all that it seems like downright paradise.

I'm glad you're back and you're feeling well, and let me tell you, I have DREAMS about dogs I want one so badly. Babies, meh, someday, but a DOG... oh, a dog...

Quirkles said...

Ladies, get dogs! Join me in the dog-loving happiness!
Seriously. Get a dog.
Really seriously. I'm psyched you're back and am looking forward to hearing all about the trip at SnB. Tucson looks gorgeous. I'm so jealous. Can't wait to see your pictures too!