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Sunday, May 21, 2000

peasWhen I woke up this morning, I took inventory. I wondered what petty ailment would dominate my day, so I checked my stomach, which had been so offended by the lunch I fed it yesterday. Fine today.

My arms and legs. Not bad, considering the strain I put on so many rarely used muscles when I wrestled the week trimmer around the yard yesterday.

My back. Still sore, but not debilitating, nothing that a few relaxing moments with a bag of frozen peas wouldn't help.

bitesThen I looked in the mirror and saw what had become of my skin. The red welts that were inflicted yesterday by a swarm of angry insects are still there, still taunting me. Don't scratch, I know, but it's so tempting. Like having a tooth with a new cavity that you can't keep your tongue out of, it's impossible to keep from running my hands over these bites, just to convince myself that my arms and neck and back are really so misshapen now. The landscape is so outer-limits that it doesn't feel like me.

I give credit to Jason for the fact that I got through the night at all. Almost as soon as my entry for yesterday went up, he sent me a message with the best advice I got from anyone. He suggested that I make a paste out of baking soda and water for the bites. I did it and it worked. At least, it kept me from staying up scratching and whining all night. Since I was able to sleep in this morning, that made it possible for me to take a positive attitude into my day. Lately I've been starting the day by looking forward to my first chance to lie down for a nap, so this was a welcome change.

A good attitude is a definite bonus on the hottest day of the year. You won't find me complaining about the heat, but I'll admit that it does slow me down some. I found something out about my new house, though. It stays cooler in here than it did at the old place. I didn't even know it was so hot out until I walked outside to pick up the morning paper. I'll admit this was at 11:30, a little late to get started, but still. It stayed cool enough to be comfortable inside, even while it was getting oppressive outside.

I think it has something to do with the side of town I'm on, too. Closer to the ocean, surrounded by trees, I've noticed that it stays cooler here no matter what kind of weather we're having. This will make it even easier for me not to whine about the heat this summer. I'll save my seasonal disorders for the dark and damp and chill of winter, thank you.

So I had to pick up something today to keep the swelling down and relieve the itching. Otherwise, I would have had no reason to venture out at all. And since I was at the store anyway, I couldn't resist picking up a carton of ice cream. It's one of those comfort foods that I should stay away from but sometimes can't. Since I started my diet, I've been able to keep the buttermilk pastries that I love so much out of the house. I'm still taking it easy on the beer, and I haven't bought cookies from the bakery in months. But I didn't get out of Safeway without a half gallon of chocolate ice cream today. If I'm good, it'll last a while.

Having trimmed the weeds in less than half the yard yesterday, I knew I should get out there and do the rest today. But after being attacked by bugs, I was a little gun shy about opening the back door.

Okay, more than a little. I was afraid for my life. It was as if the Hellmouth had opened a factory outlet store just off the edge of my patio. The demons might be smaller than the ones in Sunnydale, but I've seen them and they're real. I know I'll get over it eventually, but probably not before some of the marks left by my last foray into the heart of darkness have become a little less obvious.

I was talking with Suzanne and John this afternoon, and they had some suggestions about how to make my yard friendlier. To me, that is, and not the creatures trying to eat me. I'll be looking into getting someone to turn over the dirt and put down some sod, and maybe bring in redwood bark for part of the yard. Their own yard is so beautiful that I'd be foolish not to listen to their ideas.

I have so little experience in any of this that it's laughable. I'd be completely lost if I were left to muck my way through it on my own. It's not that I mind the work, just that I wouldn't know where to start. Now, though, I'm starting to get an idea of how I want things to look, after I get brave enough to open the back door again.

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