So: allergic



Itchy eyes. Sneezy nose. Irritated skin. Living in American’s dust pan means that I experience all these things most of the year. Although the media says Dallas is only the 23rd worst US city for allergies, it feels like it’s #1. Maybe it’s because the pollen is Texas-sized!

I take allergy medicine, sometimes two different kinds of medicine. I’ve tried all sorts of other things to help. Air conditioning certainly helps as does showering, but as you know, I like being outside. Monday mornings after a great weekend outside are the worst. I usually feel awful for the first couple of hours of work, then being sealed in a glass box kicks in and I feel better.

I’m allergic to mosquito bites, any insect bites really. Bee stings makes the stung body part puff up. Ant bites turn to giant welts. Mosquito bites are big red bumps. I’ve had my eyes puff up and almost swell shut. I’ve been so stuffy and thick headed that I couldn’t think or breathe. When I was a little kid, I did a camp overnight and ended up so covered with mosquito bites that I was running a fever the next morning. My mom had to come and pick me up.

I can’t really think of anything worse than paying money to go on a vacation somewhere exotic and spending the whole time getting bit by mosquitos. That’s why I’ll probably never go to the Amazon. Or Africa. Because even the Caribbean or Florida can be iffy for me.

The latest weird thing that happened to me were some random big welts on my right hand. At first I thought I got bit by ants in the garden. On the first day (a Tuesday) there were just a few. I was on a business trip when I noticed them. Three days later, I exploded in little blistery welts within a couple hours of being back in Dallas. Weird!

They were super icky — unbearably itchy and really ugly. I did my best to keep them covered and not scratch so they’re finally going away after two weeks. I’ve gone through 2 tubes of cortisone cream and a handful of extra allergy pills. And I’m finally feeling normal again. Maybe I’ll look normal in another week too.


4Gs making themselves comfortable. No room for people! Photo by Bruce

Gratuitous dog picture of the day:


So: murphy’s law


see what Scott means?

see what Scott means?

ss_CoorsLightCanMr. Murphy is no friend of mine today. I’m writing this post 10,000 feet above the earth, in what my friend Scott refers to as a flying Coors Light can. I’m heading to Northern California for a meeting, but since early this morning it has felt like every stumbling block that could crop up has.

mur·phy’s law

A supposed law of nature, expressed in various humorous popular sayings, to the effect that anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

Frankly I’m a little concerned that I may have forgotten something important like underwear considering I packed in a complete mad dash. You see, this morning was when the water heater decided to malfunction. Don’t get me wrong. I had a hot shower so my fellow plane passengers aren’t cringing. But after I came back after hopping in the car to leave (I forgot my toothbrush) I heard a loud hissing.

Of course, I called Bruce so he could trouble shoot via FaceTime (thank you iPhone). I turned off the things he told me to. I then got back in the car, looked over at the Urban Farm and realized that the tomatoes were still covered up and it would be 60°F today. They’d cook under the frost cloth.

So I jumped back out of the care and ran across the lawn in my work attire. I started uncovering the tomato plants. That’s when I heard it: the sound of water pouring out of something!

Damn damn damn.

You see we do not have a gate on that side of the yard. The previous owners didn’t install one. So I had to jump back into the car and drive around the house to see what happened. I suppose I could have just parked the car, gone in the house, then exited the front door, but I was already late and I was hoping it was something easy like someone left the hose on by the peach and plum trees.


If you’ve ever driven up to your house and seen steaming hot water pouring out of your roofline through a PVC escape pipe, you know exactly how I felt next. I threw the car in park, ran over to investigate, called Bruce to come home from work and help me, then unlocked the front door and ran back to the water heater that lives in it’s own cute little closet.No water in the closet. Yay!

I ran into the room that’s right below where the water was gushing out. No water ruining the room. Yay!

Next I pulled down the attic ladder. You see in Texas, they put all of the mechanical stuff in the attic, out of the way. I know. It makes no sense to me either. It’s boiling hot up there when your AC breaks in August and the HVAC guys are not happy to go up there. The cable and phone guys don’t like it either. Neither does the plumber. But still no water pouring out into the attic. Yay! (By the way, that happened in the old house and let me tell you it really sucks and is very scary to see water pouring out of your pot lights when your water heater valve explodes off the water heater on a Friday night.)

Bruce had a look, Jim the plumber called him while he was looking and together they secured the water heater and got the mystery water stopped.

Now Jim was already booked up, but he likes us so he and Bruce met up this afternoon and after $135 everything is ok.

Jim cracks me up. He’s a southern gentlemen in pressed Wranglers and cowboy boots. He calls me Mrs. and ma’am. He won’t let me help him or his assistant unless we are asking him to install a faucet that comes from Europe. He’s lectured me about my greenness and doesn’t like low flow toilets much. But je’s been around since we moved into the Mortroski Midcentury so he enjoys seeing what we’re doing to the place. Today he asked to check out the Urban Farm since that’s new to him. Bruce tells me he was impressed and it also led to one of Jim’s stories. You see apparently if you are a widower of a certain age and you live out in East Texas, there are many oil widows who love to garden. So Jim enjoys attending Garden Club meetings so he can expand his pool of local ladies to date. I’m pretty sure Jim would NOT have told me this story, but truthfully he likes Bruce a lot especially since he’s now an American.

But I digress. I was approximately 2 hours late for work. We were still knee-deep in getting stuff done for the meeting. I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten to do something there, but I figure if I keep typing my brain will remind me. Except it’s hopped up on my supplemental allergy medicine that my doctor wanted me to take so my ears don’t fill with fluid on the plane. If I wasn’t so stressed from this day, I’d probably be sound asleep.

We had to rush for the airport. I tried to make sure I brought the necessary work stuff and noticed that I was missing a power cord. Damn! It was at home on my desk. Oh well.

The TSA experience was pleasant enough, until someone spilled something all over the checkpoint. I already had my shoes out, the bins full of electronics, sweaters and toiletries. They said we could stay, but the last “clean up on aisle 4” took 30 minutes. I opted to hike 15 gates to the next security entrance with everyone else who was in line there. My sweet boss because she flies so much and is a statuesque blonde, got to Fast Pass the line since they had no Fast Pass people waiting (I bet it was a free sample to get her to buy the Fast Pass). Of course, I had to go through the regular line. At least I didn’t get the special massage and packing assessment today!

Plane was delayed by 30 minutes because we were missing the pilot and first officer. Typical for this airline so it didn’t bother me much. Hopefully with new ownership and more pilots to choose from they won’t have this as an excuse much longer.

Once on the plane I noticed two things. The fly on my dress pants had dropped, probably because I forgot to zip it at some point. And I had lost one of my favorite earrings. Hopefully it just fell into my clothes and when I go to change for bed tonight, I’ll find it. Sigh.

Two lovely friends of mine live 10 minutes from the airport. They have graciously agreed to accompany me to dinner tonight so we can catch up. I try to see them when ever I’m out here on business, but honestly, I’m not sure that they should be around me.

It seems that I have either a black cloud over my head or Mr. Murphy himself trying to mess with me. Please cross your fingers for me. Think good thoughts. Or pray. Bring me some good mojo/juju/thoughts/positivity.

Tomorrow and Wednesday need to be much less eventful, even if it makes my posts super boring.



Sow: resow

Today, life’s full of…

little victories: After yesterday’s dirt-fest-a-rama, seed planting-a-thon, and weed whacking,  this desk jockey didn’t wake up unable to move today or hobble around the office. Yay me!

big annoyances: Yesterday was the highest pollen count of 2013 so I woke up this morning with stuffy head and a snuffly nose that has remained with me until about 30 minutes ago. Boo!

words with friends: Not the game app, just quick connections. Lots of good news, hope, inspiring projects, adventures and tales of love about to happen.

important reminders: Like reading is fundamental!

You see, after yesterday’s fun, I was looking through the seed packs, mentally patting myself on the back for getting so much done, cleaning up the garden, harvesting a bunch of stuff, yada yada yada. Then I got to the pea packs:

notice the important instructions...

notice the special germination instructions. doh!

Oops. I remembered to soak the beet seeds because I did that last fall. At least now I know exactly why the fall pea crop never grew! I thought it was because the pole beans crowded and choked it out. Nope. I never soaked the peas. (I also don’t recall that instruction being on that particular packet—I got it for free by answering a gardening survey.)

So last night I made sure to soak the peas I had remaining (I had planned to use them in the fall).

I resowed both the snow peas and the shelling peas this morning.

In 5-10 days we’ll quickly know if soaking matters. I’ll either have exactly the right spacing of cute little pea seedlings 2 inches apart, ready to climb their trellis, or I’ll be pulling out a bunch of pea shoots (luckily you can throw them in salad)!

(I hope that we’ll get to eat some pea shoots.)