Coffee heat rising

Less Is More…or at least better

Holy mackerel! Did any of your doctors who wanted to put implants in your boobs (or your lady friend’s boobs) happen to mention this little detail?

Boyoboy, am I glad I decided to go flat after the Great De-Boobification Adventure!

Confirms my suspicion that less is usually more. And conversely, the more surgical treatment you can do without, the less risk you run.

With the exception of one older, highly experienced breast surgeon, every which way I turned I was pressured to have these things stuck into my chest. One quack actually had the nerve to tell me that if I refused to have fake boobs inserted, within six months I would be suicidal.

No joke: that’s exactly what he said. Or is that $aid?…

The old guy — the Valley’s Grand Old Man of breast cancer doctoring — told me that his experience was that most women are better off without implants, because sooner or later the things cause trouble. Then you get to have MORE surgery.

Make that “more unnecessary surgery”….

In a profit-oriented health-care system, you have to advocate for yourself, consider and double-check everything that is said to you, and never take anything as Received Word from On High. Every statement that’s made to you, you have to regard with skepticism.

Doctors hate that attitude, of course. They expect to be taken as The Authority on whatever ails you, and they don’t want to be gainsaid.

I can understand that. But…I’m also very sure that if I’d allowed myself to be pressured into cosmetic surgery that was totally unnecessary, I’d be unhappy or at least very nervous by now. Not being in the market for a man, I have no reason to have fake boobs hanging from my chest. And I also happen to know that any woman over about the age of 45 is essentially invisible, and so I do not CARE whether I do or don’t have chunks of flesh sticking out under my clothes.

IMHO, where medical care is concerned, less is more.

That doesn’t mean go all Christian-Science and stay completely away from doctors. No.

Get regular medical care, of course. Get your immunizations — all of them. Establish a relationship with a sane G.P. (if you can find one). Get a regular physical once every year or two.

But on the other hand, when treatment is called for, always get a second opinion!

Not-a-Cancer: Updated Update

Isn’t it lovely: today I do not have to go to the Mayo!

Friday I drove out to the clinic on the far side of Scottsdale, having been summoned by the medical oncologist WonderSurgeon works with. When I asked them what the appointment was for, they told me it was “a six-month followup.” So I say, “Follow-up to WHAT? What’s this conversation going to be about?” You understand, it’s a fifty-mile round trip and I don’t want to spend two hours and a quarter-tank of gas to schlep out there for nothing. She refused to tell me. When I got the printed “itinerary” that the Mayo sends to announce upcoming appointments, I saw I wasn’t even supposed to see the doc — they had me set up to see a nurse practitioner.

So I fly up to the check-in desk just after the appointed hour, having gotten caught up in a gigantic traffic jam and also having discovered that the Morons were swarming — you never saw so many idiot drivers in your LIFE! The receptionist checks me in and then says oh! wait!

NOW what?

“Your appointment isn’t until Monday.”

“WHAT! Holy shit.”

So I say, “Is there somebody I could talk with who could tell me what it is they want to discuss with me? I don’t understand why I’m being hauled out here — and I don’t have either the time to spend on driving two hours back and forth or the money to waste on the gasoline. Could this conversation take place over the phone?” It takes me some doing to make this register with her, but finally she gets it and she tells me to go over to a house phone hanging on a wall across the room — yeah, one of those hard-wired things with the curly cord — and dial an extension into oncology.

This I do. Naturally, they stick me on hold until a nurse can talk to me. I sit on the floor, open my computer, and rack up 15 minutes of billable time reading a client’s manuscript while listening to loud, obnoxious Muzak.

Finally a nurse gets on the phone. I explain AGAIN that it’s an absurdly long drive, that I’m trying to run a business, and that I don’t have the time to come schlepping out unless there’s a very good reason for it. Would she please tell me why I’m being asked to traipse to the far side of East Scottsdale?

She looks in the records and, after much rumination, finally says, “This appointment was made last September. Uhmm…I see you’ve already had…ahem…several lumpectomies.”

Interesting way to describe a double mastectomy.

“Well, yeah. Actually, I don’t have anything left on my body to discuss.”

“You had no invasive cancer?”



Uh huh.

“Well, this was a routine follow-up. Since you’ve talked to Dr. WonderSurgeon, there’s no need for another appointment with us.”

No kidding.

So that was only slightly infuriating.

The trip wasn’t entirely wasted. I needed some specific items available most easily at a specific store located on the fringes of Richistan, so I was able to drop by there on the way home and pick up that junk, plus I made a quick visit to the Whole Foods across the street from the desired emporium.

But I could have billed three hours that morning, not the fifteen minutes I managed to crank out while sitting on the floor of the Mayo’s waiting room.

Knitting…Mme LaFarge Redux?

Is life a Monty Python show, a Kurt Vonnegut novel, or A Tale of Two Cities? One never knows around this place.

Verrrrryyy slowly, I’m learning to knit. The plan is to learn to knit TitBits, a particularly desirable type of fake boob invented by the Canadian crafter Beryl Tsang, who at one point posted her pattern online.

It’s a great deal harder than one would imagine, especially when the “one” concerned has butter-fingers and a brain that can NOT comprehend the connection between spatial reasoning (whatever TF that is) and the motion of the butter-fingers.

I put up my choir friend Pat, a canny Michigander who defines “self-sufficient” and who is an accomplished knitter, to teaching me how to do this.

As it develops, there are two basic stitches in all of knitting: something called a knit stitch and something called a purl stitch.  The knit stitch is pretty easy and it seems intuitively logical. I think (at least in my case) that’s because the knit thingie must be what my mother succeeded in teaching me when I was a kid, before I made my escape from THAT noise. As for the purl? HOLY ess-aitch-ai!!!!! The purl stitch is horrible dreadful and awful.

Relative to the knit stitch, purling is somehow backward but not backward. It’s extremely clumsy to do. The effect, when you try to learn purling, is like how it would feel if you tried to do something left-handed that you ALWAYS do right-handed. It’s completely confusing, completely clumsy, and frustrating all out of proportion.

By the end of the afternoon the other day, my friend Pat must have concluded that I’m a hopeless moron, because I could NOT for the life of me understand what she was doing, even though she demonstrated, over and over and over and over and over until she was ready to fall off the sofa, how to do this stupid purl thing. By the time she was dropping from exhaustion, I did understand what to do and I understood why to do it and I understood what the result is but I still COULD NOT MAKE MY HANDS DO IT!

The following day, I spent four and a half hours trying to make myself learn how to do this. By way of reinforcing what Pat valiantly tried to teach me, I studied not one, not two, not three, but FOUR different YouTube videos, trying to figure out how to purl.

Finally I gave up, unraveled the amazing mess, and returned all the knitting needles and other loot Pat had kindly donated to my cause. Convinced I was that I have some sort of learning disability that makes it impossible for me to learn to purl. Purling Disability. Dyspurlica. WhatEVER.

Well, of course as the dust settled I still had all this stuff I’d got at the nonprofit knitting store, including the double-ended needles Beryl specifies, the ones that you allow you to knit on one end and watch all your stitches fall off the other end…. Yeah. Those.

No returns at the nonprofit knitting store. This stuff I got is really pretty. I sure wish I could knit and purl.

So as I contemplate this state of affairs, it occurs to me that maybe if I could just find a DIAGRAM of the accursed purl stitch instead of having to watch people’s hands in motion, maybe my limited little brain could figure it out. So I abandon YouTube and Google “how to purl” in the wild.

And hot diggety! What should come up but…yes! A set of diagrams showing EACH STEP in purling. Insert needle backward…wind yarn over counter-clockwise…grab stitch…drop the remaining yarn…repeat until you’re ready to fall off the sofa.  And it worked.

So I cast on about 18 stitches and spent another four hours or so (and then some) working on a sort of “sampler” trying to practice these things. The result was pretty inexcusably bad. BUT…after about 18 inches of crafting this ridiculous thing (sometimes it had 22 stitches…sometimes it had 14 or 16 stitches, who on earth knows why but it seems to have something to do with incompetent purling), I cast it off the needle, figuring to preserve it for future comedians’ use.

Next day, though, I cast on 40 stitches and set out to knit what Pat calls “stockinette”: knit one row and purl one row. And by golly…it’s getting a LOT better. Still not what you’d call perfect, but the product is no longer hilariously laughable. It actually looks pretty much like stockinette!

And that seems to be what they’re making Knitted Knockers and TitBits with.

It’s still kind of hard — I ended up ruining the piece I was so proud of and having to start over not once, not twice, not thrice, but five times to get it right again —  but I think in another couple of weeks,  I will be able to do this.  And then, with any luck, I’ll be able to make fake boobs for all my boob-free pals, which is likely to be quite a few, since 1 in 8 American women, allegedly, is diagnosed with breast cancer or something like it…

Sun Dogs…and Move Over, Dolly!

You’ve heard of the Valley of the Sun, of course — we who live here recognize it as the Valley of the We-Do-Mean Sun: 118 degrees now being a summer norm. Welp, it’s raining in the VotWEMS, and you know what that means? Very, very unhappy dogs!

Ruby the Corgi Pup has acquired Cassie the Corgi’s profound disdain for water. And when water falls out of the sky? Oh, my. What a horror! These are Sun Dogs. Anything other than a clear day is weather for some other planet.

Ruby rousted me out of the sack at 5:30, whining and ooorrrking. She makes the distinctive, strange corgi noise, something like a combination of purring and baying, a sound that Cassie abjures in favor of pretty much constant barking. Figuring she needed to pee, I rolled out of the sack and lifted them down from the bed.

No. Apparently she was complaining about the sound of the rain falling. She ran into the bathroom and refused to come out!


Cassie was persuaded to step onto the back porch, but declined to go further.

Tell me you don't seriously think I'm going out there!
Tell me you don’t seriously think I’m going out there!

Grumpily, I went back to bed. Ruby refused to get back on the bed — she ran out of the bathroom and huddled in her crate.

A couple hours later, clouds were sitting atop North Mountain, a low butte a couple miles from the Funny Farm. Briefly, though, it had stopped raining.

P1030331Ruby ran back into the bathroom and refused to come out. Cassie stood at the door and stared out, aghast. Their attention, finally, was grabbed by the rattling of the Doggy Treat Jar.

Yes. I had to lure them into the backyard with dog treats. They did their thing in the moments between rainshowers, but they were not pleased. No dog pleasure here. None.

That is about ENOUGH of that!
That is about ENOUGH of that!

 In other news…

Windy City Gal, who is making a pair of Tit Bits for me, asked me to try the “seat cushions” that came from Knitted Knockers in one of my bras, to see whether the size we estimated is right.

Don’t everybody’s boobs look like seat cushions for Raggedy Ann and Andy? 😀

heh heh heh heh…

The result, even with the whoopie-cushion effect, was va-va-VOOM! Get outta, my way, Dolly Parton!


This is too hilarious to be believed!

Of course, it’s too everything to be believed, and certainly should not be. Believed, that is.

However, it must be said: with a shirt on, the effect is surprisingly believable. And certainly much more buxom than I’ve ever been in real life.

Now…all I’ve gotta do is get the hair right….