Sunday, October 22, 2006

To-ing and Fro-ing to Phoenix

DH has a business meeting in Phoenix this week, and my aunt lives in Mesa, so I flew over with him on Saturday and came back last night. Our beloved elderly kittens, Midnight and Shadow, have to have medications daily, and it's a hassle (and $$$) to get a meds-competent cat-sitter. Hence the quick trip for me. BTW, this is a photo-free post, since in spite of charging the camera batteries before we left, it died after 3 pix. Grr.

One of the Elannites tipped me to a good LYS in Mesa, so after checking in with the hotel and my aunt to arrange dinner plans, we scooted to downtown Mesa and The Fiber Factory. Wow! This is a big shop, with at least half of the space filled with looms and cones and cones and cones of weaving yarns. There's a decent selection of spinning fibers and spindles, too. And of course there is yarn!! Seems like the wall of yarn is half a block long. I just petted my way from laceweight to worsted and heavier.
Lots of Dale yarns, which no one here carries in a wide variety. I was really tempted by some hand-dyed laceweight from a small Mesa-area company at a great price, particularly because of the gorgeous sample scarf. But apparently I was 2 days late, with one customer having bought out all but one skein! So I did buy that one, for a gift. Among the worsted yarns was a really nice wool/silk blend from New Zealand, and I just had to try it, since one of the shop staff recommended it so highly. This is a gorgeous deep purple, with a subtle halo that almost looks like a 'frosting'. The staff all were very helpful and friendly.

They have a great selection of needles, so good I went "Squeeee!" They had quite a few of Susanne's rosewood circs, and a lot of Crystal Palace's bamboos. My local sources of CP are all 'former' local sources, so I spent a lot of time choosing sizes of those two brands that I wanted.

DH was incredibly patient while I spent over an hour in the LYS. He was able to check out the interesting shops in the area and just enjoy the lovely afternoon. BTW, if anyone wants some more of the great SW Trading Beyond Bold yarn, they have a good selection in their markdown bins, and they are long-distance shopping friendly.

Then we were off to pick up my aunt and uncle for dinner. Note to others: seniors seem to eat dinner VERY early! Like 5:30. And they don't go out to dinner enough; they're short on recommendations. Having failed to make a reservation, dinner at Black Angus, a treat for them, didn't happen. A 45-minute wait for dinner, which was surprising at that early a time, is far too long for Uncle. So we defaulted to Coco's, which is rather prosaic, but with lots of options.

Yesterday we joined them for lunch in the Private Dining Room of their assisted-living complex. It is beautifully decorated, as is the whole building, and we had a really tasty lunch, served by a very helpful and charming staffer. We brought a gift, a crocheted afghan I made a while back from Caron's Simply Soft in a deep country blue, and it was a big hit, so much that Auntie had to take it right over to the main dining room to show it off to her best buds. That's a major compliment, especially since Auntie is an accomplished crocheter herself! We were able to spend some time back in their mini-apartment just visiting, and that was of course the best part. Uncle hadn't met my DH, so they had a great time getting to know one another.

Just a bit of explanation here. My aunt is my mother's next-older sister, and she was widowed some years ago. She met my 'new' uncle around that time, and they decided to get married about 4 years ago. Uncle is, literally, a retired "rocket scientist", having worked in the high-level project management area, and is a warm and fascinating man. When I first met him, at their wedding, I asked him if he'd worked at JPL (the Jet Propulsion Labs in Pasadena), and he replied, "No. I didn't work there; they worked for me." Heady stuff!! He's had quite a spell of medical problems since the wedding, but is now better able to get around, and DH and I are both looking forward to more visits with him.

DH's business meeting is at the extremely upscale and drop-dead gorgeous Marriott Desert Sands Resort on the north side of Phoenix. Seeing the huge, beautiful room he has made me envious and reluctant to leave for home - well, for about 5 minutes. The kitties needed me. I dropped him off and headed clear across Phoenix to the airport and home.

Traveling alone gives you an opportunity for some amazing people-watching, even more so than when you have companions. Airports seem to have a high population of serious fashion victims, like the young woman in what seemed to be a black ballet leotard and calf-length tights, with a small black and white striped tablecloth wrapped around her waist. Or the umpteen women who sacrifice foot comfort by wearing fashionable 3-inch heels instead of something more sensible for all the walking and standing. And what do you do when you're seated on the crowded rental car shuttle, with a very large gent hanging from the overhead bar with his um, zipper about a foot from your nose? I couldn't quite decide where to look, lol!!

As a side note, the Phoenix airport does a good job of moving and managing people, and the separate rental-car terminal is itself pretty awesome. All - yes, all! - the rental car agencies are housed in one gi-normous 3-story facility about 10 minutes from the airport itself. And the highway signage is very good, for those who, like me, are a bit directionally challenged.

Midnight and Shadow are beginning to forgive me for being a day late with their usual moist-food dinners and breakfasts, not to mention leaving their kitty boxes unattended for longer than they prefer. Home is good!!


Bri McStan said...

It sounds like you had such a good weekend. I can't wait to see what you whip up with your souvenir yarn.

Vamanta said...

I felt like I was right there with you CBM! Thanks for the tour!

junior_goddess said...

Yeah, I know what you mean about zippers. I had a dentist like that, and I suspect it was calculated. I didn't know what to do-I was gauze packed, rubber-dammed, novocained and drooling-and he was so close I could smell him. I almost puked. I was probably the wriggliest patient he'd had in weeks.

Thanks for the Fiber Factory rating, I'll go next time I go see Dad.

Cindy G said...

The yarn shop sounds like heaven, and I'm so glad you had a good visit with your aunt and uncle. I'm sure it meant a lot to them; my Mom just loves it when she gets out of town visitors (and dinner service starts at 4:30 at her residence)