Chicken Pox?

Yesterday, I wore a skirt to work.  At some point in the afternoon, I looked down and noticed some little red bumps near my knee.  They looked like insect bites, but at the same time, they didn’t.  I pondered for a moment and couldn’t stop the chicken pox from popping into my head.  I dismissed it, though—what are the odds that I could have come in contact with chicken pox?  Practically ZERO.  Then I forgot all about it…

…Until this morning, when I got an email from my mother informing me that she was diagnosed with shingles yesterday.

Now, I am trying to put puzzle pieces together.  I have felt exceptionally lousy all week—splitting headache all day on Monday, no energy, etc.—things that I previously dismissed as stress.  Add to that some mysterious-blister-like red bumps on my leg, and I am really wondering.

Could I possibly have chicken pox?  I am one of those freaky kids who never got chicken pox—it’s not as if it would be unheard of for me to be able to catch it—especially given how much time my mom and I spend together. 

But really—chicken pox?  No way.  Not possible.  I am supposed to be in Lake Tahoe next week at a conference.  I can’t have the freaking chicken pox.

Food Glorious Food

When I got home from work today, my little basset girl had snatched her food bag from on top of the washing machine and had downed about 6 meals worth of kibble.

Needless to say, she's regretting that decision–much the same way I regret those occasions where an entire pint of Ben & Jerry's magically disappears before my eyes.

Will we ever learn?

Window Office


The windows in my office face west, and my monitors face the windows.  For this reason, when the sun starts inching westward in the afternoon, there comes a time when I have to close my blinds.  Usually sometime between 2 and 3 o’clock.  When I leave for the afternoon, my blinds stay closed.

There is something about walking into my office in the morning and opening the blinds that I find absolutely refreshing.  My office goes from a fluorescent-lit cave to a beautiful daylight filled workspace in a matter of seconds.  When my focus switches from the grey of the empty office to the blue of the sky, I am filled with something vaguely resembling inspiration.

Sometimes, it only lasts for a few seconds.  Sometimes, it stays with me for an hour or so.  Eventually, I am sucked into work and I forget all about it—but that’s just as well, because it makes it all the more enjoyable the next morning.

If I could change one thing in corporate America, it would be to give every employee a window. It’s bad enough having to spend hours on end in an office building—we all deserve a little bit of sunshine.


If you were to ask me how I am any day for the last week or so, my answer would be TIRED. 

I am tired of drama.

I am tired of feeling the wheels in my brain spinning at all hours.

I am tired of feeling inadequate.

I am tired of being weighed down by worry.

I am tired of all of the conversations that go in circles.

I am tired of feeling stuck—stalled like the car that slowed down my commute this morning.

I would say that I need a vacation, but every time I take a vacation—just when I reach that point of feeling renewed and refreshed—I return home to a fresh batch of all of the above (usually sparked by item 1).

Something’s gotta give, right?  At some point, something has to break the cycle.  I’m just not sure what that something is, or whether I can wait long enough for it to happen.



I’m noticing little changes since I started writing again.  Granted, I’m not writing the novellas that I used to compose, but still—it feels good, and the feeling seems to be igniting that spark that I’ve been hoping to find.

Today, for the first time in a long time, I logged into my Ravelry account.  I even found myself looking at knitting patterns via Pinterest.

Part of the reason I haven’t knitted in ages is a nagging pain in my wrist, but it was easy to rest my wrist because the desire I had held for soft, brightly colored yarn just wasn’t there anymore.  As I looked at baby blanket ideas for a friend at work today, I felt the familiar urge to hit the local yarn store again.  (Don’t worry, honey—I promise I won’t buy any new yarn for a very long time.)

Now, I’m excited to head home and look through my stash.  It’s time to start playing with yarn again.  I can’t wait.  Next on the needles… a fun, bright baby blanket.



Room to Breathe

I had a very vague and somewhere angst-filled entry in front of me in Word that I was ready to post.  Then, I passed a work-related exam with a perfect score, had a long lunch with a friend, and got a bit of fresh air.  I feel so much better, and now, instead of focusing on angst, I can focus on our recent camping trip.

I have grown up tent camping.  Hell, I have been told that I was conceived on a camping trip.  So when I met Catch and found out that she, too, is a fan of the camping experience, I knew I had hit the jackpot.  Our first weekend away together was a trip to the Kern River, where I grinned from ear to ear at how the two of us had our tent up in less than ten minutes while our friends were still struggling.  It was one of many signs that “us” was meant to be.

6 years later, we are seasoned pros at camping together.  My favorite trips with her have been ones that involved long nature walks and sleeping under the stars.  That’s what this beach trip was all about.

Walks along the sand dunes…


Some play time at the beach



Natural colors




Peaceful, coffee-filled mornings…



Lazy afternoon naps…


And, of course, bed time–which never seemed to come early enough for this little guy, who would start begging to go inside the tent the moment the sky started changing colors…



Camping Again

I am anxiously counting down the minutes until Catch and the hounds arrive to pick me up from work and take us away on our last camping trip of the summer.  After the work week I've had already, I truly deserve these next couple of days off.

Twixie as a puppy at McGrath in 2006 This is one of our local spots–only an hour or so away from home nestled near an estuary about a half mile inland from the ocean.  It's an easy place to camp with the dogs, and the kind of camping when the scenery matters less than the chance to escape.  It's not the most beautiful campground or the most private, but it gives us enough of that "away" feeling without the requisite 4+ hour drive into the mountains.

At this particular campground, we spend most of our time reading, enjoying the campfire, and cooking more involved meals than we would normally prepare while camping.  I call it gourmet camping.

So, my bags are packed with good books, dog treats, and the makings of a few nice meals (pancakes with caramelized apples & toffee sauce, anyone?) and my head is packed with the hope of making this 4-night camping trip the perfect end to a wonderful summer.


I hate raccoons. Absolutely despise them.

They must know this, because for some reason, they have taken up residence in the cypress trees in our back yard.

I you were my neighbor, you would have seen me alternately blasting the hose and throwing softballs at the trees around 8:30 tonight in my nightgown. Fun times.

I cannot wait for Catch to come home tomorrow night. Fighting raccoons all alone is even less fun than fighting them together.

Does it Ever Strike You…

I wish my memory was better than it is.  There are so many of those moments that I want to capture in my brain’s library—the ones when you tell yourself, “This is important. Hold onto it.” Then, before I know it, it’s nothing more than a fuzzy, “I know this was something special, but I just can’t remember…”

Pappy My grandfather passed away around Thanksgiving of last year.  Before he died, Catch and I stopped by the nursing home my family had moved him into.  It was a residential care home—a couple of quiet bedrooms, with a solid nursing staff in a regular house tucked into a quiet neighborhood.  I told Catch that I wanted to take him for a walk—to let him get some fresh air—so we transferred him from the sofa into his wheelchair, put a sweater on him, and wheeled him out into the sunshine. 

We walked around the park for a bit.  It was a beautiful day, and pappy was babbling on about nonsensical things like the moon being somewhere over in Minnesota. By that point, his dementia was severe enough that he didn’t know who we were, where we were, or why we were there, but he didn’t really seem to care, either.

After a while, we brought him back to the home.  The nurses helped him out of his wheelchair, and we sat there together.  After a few minutes he looked out at the back yard, turned back to me and said (clear as day), "Does it ever just strike you how blessed we are to be here?"

That was the last real conversation I had with my pappy.  A few days later, we got word that my young cousin had been badly injured and was in critical condition after a horrific car accident.  Pappy passed away while she was in surgery. 

How blessed we are to be here, indeed. I hope I never forget it.