9.23.2020

interspecies love: it's been too long

I've been stashing these in a folder, but it's been years since I've posted any! I don't know about you, but I could sure use a break.


























9.19.2020

ruth bader ginsburg, rest in power


 






These highlights of Ginsburg's decisions and dissents on the SCOTUS are a joy to read. I used two sources, and decided to keep the overlap. Many highlight the reason she was affectionately known as the Notorious RBG.

United States v. Virginia, 1996

In United States v. Virginia, Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion that would serve as a milestone moment for women’s rights and university admission policies. The case challenged a policy by the Virginia Military Institute that barred women from being admitted to the institution. Although the state of Virginia said it would create a separate educational program for women for the military institute, Ginsburg questioned its merits, writing that “Women seeking and fit for a VMI-quality education cannot be offered anything less, under the Commonwealth’s obligation to afford them genuinely equal protection.”

“Neither federal nor state government acts compatibly with equal protection when a law or official policy denies to women, simply because they are women, full citizenship stature-equal opportunity to aspire, achieve, participate in and contribute to society based on their individual talents and capacities,” Ginsburg wrote.

Olmstead v. L.C., 1999

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Olmstead v. L.C. proved a victory for the rights of people with disabilities. In the case, two women with mental disabilities were ordered to remain in a psychiatric facility even though some medical professionals believed they could live healthy lives in a “community-based program.” 

Ginsburg wrote:

States are required to place persons with mental disabilities in community settings rather than in institutions when the State’s treatment professionals have determined that community placement is appropriate, the transfer from institutional care to a less restrictive setting is not opposed by the affected individual, and the placement can be reasonably accommodated, taking into account the resources available to the State and the needs of others with mental disabilities. 

Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 2007

Ginsburg famously dissented from the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co, which ended up making it more difficult for workers to sue their employers over allegations of wage discrimination. 

The decision was so troubling to Ginsburg, she chose to read her dissent from the bench, which The Washington Post reported at the time was “a usually rare practice that she has now employed twice in the past six weeks to criticize the majority for opinions that she said undermine women's rights.”

"In our view, the court does not comprehend, or is indifferent to, the insidious way in which women can be victims of pay discrimination," Ginsburg said. 

Obergefell v. Hodges, 2015

The outcome of Obergefell v. Hodges was a major moment for same-sex couples and the rights of LGBTQ Americans. In the case, a number of same-sex couples sued their respective states over bans against same-sex marriages and not recognizing their legal marriages. Ginsburg’s vote helped overturn the marriage bans; legalizing same-sex marriage in every U.S. state. 

“We have changed our idea about marriage,” Ginsburg said during oral arguments. “Marriage today is not what it was under the common law tradition, under the civil law tradition.” 

Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, 2016

In the case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the Supreme Court’s decision helped strike down the contentious H.B.2 law in Texas that imposed a number of regulations on abortion clinics, seemingly designed to deter women from obtaining the procedure, among other critiques. Ginsburg said at the time that “it is beyond rational belief that H. B. 2 could genuinely protect the health of women, and certain that the law ‘would simply make it more difficult for them to obtain abortions.’”

She added: “When a State severely limits access to safe and legal procedures, women in desperate circumstances may resort to unlicensed rogue practitioners, faute de mieux, at great risk to their health and safety.”

* * * * 

Shelby County

In a 2013 decision out of the court, Chief Justice John Roberts led a majority invalidating a key provision in the Voting Rights Act that required certain jurisdictions with a history of discrimination to undergo federal oversight before enacting any changes in voting procedure.

Ginsburg penned a fiery dissent in the case, pointing out that Congress passed the latest installment of the Voting Rights Act with "overwhelming bipartisan support," saying the representatives legitimately exercised their constitutional powers in doing so.

"The sad irony of today's decision lies in (the court's) utter failure to grasp why the (law) has proven effective," Ginsburg wrote.

It is the dissent in the Shelby case that grew Ginsburg's following in pop culture in recent years -- spurring the "Notorious RBG" moniker that morphed into a celebration of the justice's legal career.

She wrote that "[t]hrowing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet."

Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

Some of Ginsburg's most blistering dissents came from cases involving gender discrimination and civil rights -- an issue she pioneered throughout her legal career.

In one such case, Lilly Ledbetter sued her employer, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, in 1999 for gender discrimination after discovering that over the course of her 19-year career at the company, she had received lower compensation than her male counterparts. She won the case in federal court in 2003 and was awarded $3.8 million in back pay and damages.

The tire giant appealed and the case eventually made its way to the Supreme Court. In 2007, the Supreme Court upheld a reversal of the federal court decision, ruling that because Ledbetter's claim was made after a 180-day charging period, she could not sue her employer under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Railing against the all male, 5-4, majority, Ginsburg delivered a scathing dissent from the bench, a rare act by justices intended to demonstrate the strength of their disagreement. She accused the eight male justices of being indifferent to the gender pay gap.

"The court does not comprehend or is indifferent to the insidious way in which women can be victims of pay discrimination," she said, calling upon Congress to act where the court had not.

In 2018, Ledbetter recalled the role Ginsburg played in her landmark case in 2006, saying the justice's dissent from the majority gives her chills to this day.

"I get chills and goosebumps today just thinking about it ... knowing how fierce she was," Ledbetter said.

Hobby Lobby

In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that certain for-profit companies cannot be required by the government to pay for specific types of contraceptives, such as methods of birth control and emergency contraception, for their employees.

In her dissent, Ginsburg wrote the court had "ventured into a minefield," adding it would disadvantage those employees "who do not share their employer's religious beliefs."

"Any decision to use contraceptives made by a woman covered under Hobby Lobby's or Conestoga's plan will not be propelled by the Government, it will be the woman's autonomous choice, informed by the physician she consults," the liberal justice wrote.

Ginsburg also noted the cost barrier that many women face in attempting to gain access to different kinds of birth control.

"It bears note in this regard that the cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month's full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage."

Obamacare's contraceptive mandate

In one of her more recent dissents, Ginsburg lambasted the court for "(leaving) women workers to fend for themselves," in a case where the justices struck down the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate.

In July 2020, the court cleared the way for the Trump administration to expand exemptions for employers who have religious or moral objections to complying with the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate.

"Today, for the first time, the Court casts totally aside countervailing rights and interests in its zeal to secure religious rights to the nth degree," Ginsburg wrote in dissent.

"This court leaves women workers to fend for themselves, to seek contraceptive coverage from sources other than their employer's insurer, and, absent another available source of funding, to pay for contraceptive services out of their own pockets," she said and noted that the government had acknowledged that the rules would cause thousands of women -- "between 70,500 and 126,400 women of childbearing age," she wrote -- to lose coverage.

When the case's oral arguments were being heard, Ginsburg participated from a hospital bed because of a gall bladder condition. Ginsburg also announced weeks after her dissent in the case that a scan the February before revealed lesions on her liver and she had begun bi-weekly chemotherapy.

Bush v. Gore

In the election of 2000, Florida was the key to presidential victory on both sides of the aisle. The voting process in the state was a mess -- with poorly designed ballots and counting irregularities abound. Both George W. Bush and Al Gore both declared victory in the state before election night was over, kicking off one of the most drawn-out election results in the nation's history.

The election quickly went from a decision steered by vote counts to one steered by the courts.

The bitter court battle first escalated up to Florida's Supreme Court, where a manual recount of ballots was issued. The order was appealed up to the US Supreme Court, where it was reversed and Florida's 25 electoral votes, along with the presidency, was handed to Bush.

Though Ginsburg was not on the winning side, she did not go gentle into that good night.

''I might join the chief justice were it my commission to interpret Florida law,'' Ginsburg wrote. ''The extraordinary setting of this case has obscured the ordinary principle that dictates its proper resolution: federal courts defer to state high courts' interpretations of their state's own law. This principle reflects the core of federalism, on which all agree.''

''Were the other members of this court as mindful as they generally are of our system of dual sovereignty,'' Justice Ginsburg concluded, ''they would affirm the judgment of the Florida Supreme Court.''

But while colleagues wrote they dissented "respectfully," as Ginsburg typically does, she said only: "I dissent."

* * * *

The deep mourning and existential fear that Ginsburg's death has triggered speak how even the thinnest veneer of democracy is hanging by the flimsiest of threads. 

She was a powerhouse, a model of truth-telling and integrity, a brilliant, forceful, and fearless mind. But the death of one elderly woman, no matter how beloved, should not strike such profound fear in the hearts of so many millions. 

And I've already seen an onslaught of posts blaming that fear on supporters of Bernie Sanders.

9.17.2020

in which i implore the goddess of antihistamines to smile upon me

I am so grateful to be home, and to have several more days off before returning to work. All four of us are happy to be back. What a joy and a privilege to have a home that I love! 

Seeing the dermatologist in Campbell River on the day we were driving through town was an even bigger stroke of luck than we knew: it was the last day before the doctor's vacation! I would have had to wait another two weeks, in addition to another six hours of driving.

Dermatologist:

1. Ordered a whole whack of blood tests to make sure there's no underlying issue causing the urticaria. It's likely the hives are idiopathic -- "CIU" -- but I'm glad he's checking.

2. Prescribed a new-generation antihistamine in three or four times the normal dosage to try to bring the reaction under control. I had it filled immediately.

3. Said if the antihistamines don't work, we'll do a course of oral steroids. I have no problem with that, but I'm also glad he's not starting there.

4. Was unimpressed that I had stopped all my medication, and strongly suggested I reverse course. My joints, especially my knees, have been painful, and my blood pressure is up, so yeah, time to do that. The doctor felt that if I haven't changed medications, they are unlikely to the cause. Also, he said that I'm not taking any of the classic hives-causing meds.

I'm going to continue dairy-free, because I've now had two ridiculous flare-ups coincide with eating dairy products. Whether or not I've actually developed an allergy to dairy, or if this is a secondary reaction, I need to eliminate it from my diet for now.

9.16.2020

cpmvfsgu days 8 and 9: monday and tuesday on salt spring island; whether or not to leave a negative review for an airbnb

I've spent the last two days reading, blogging, scratching, and occasionally eating and sleeping. There were other things to do on Salt Spring Island, but I was too uncomfortable to do anything. It was very nice to have uninterrupted time to read and write.

Tomorrow we'll take an early ferry to Crofton, drive up to Campbell River, take care of our appointments, then head back home. 

* * * *

I've had a long running argument by email with the host of this cottage. I'd like to leave a negative review, but I've read that bad reviews can seriously damage a host's standing with Airbnb. Also, I don't have many reviews on Airbnb and I don't want to be reviewed as a bad guest. I wish the cottage was listed on TripAdvisor, as I have a more substantial body of reviews there.

I've also read that a guest's review is not published until the host reviews the guest -- so if the host wants to suppress a negative review, they can simply decline to leave feedback on the guest. I haven't been able to confirm this.

Despite these issues, I feel uncomfortable not leaving a more fulsome and truthful review. To me that's how things are supposed to work. 

Here's the deal. The listing for the cottage said "self-clean". I interpreted that to mean that no one services the property while you are there -- that you're on your own. As it turns out, the host expects guests to clean the home for the next guests! 

We would never leave dirty dishes or a mess. But we are not going to vacuum, scrub the bathroom, wash the inside of the fridge, and so on. This host expects us to do that, or to leave $100 in cash -- a fee that was not mentioned in advance. We are doing neither.

The host does say that she has a cleaner coming in to provide the "second, covid cleaning".

She left us two towels, and no extras, and claims that guests bring their own. There is no washer/dryer in the house, and no laundromat on the island. It's damp here and towels don't dry. In our experience, there is usually a closet full of towels. The host claims that would substantially increase her costs.

I have been traveling a long time and have stayed in many different kinds of places. No owner of any vacation property has ever expected me to clean their house. Who goes on holidays expecting to clean?

Again, to be very clear: dishes washed, dried, and put away; all garbage and recycling taken outside; nothing messy or out of place; bed stripped as requested. And that ought to be enough.

To review or not to review?

9.15.2020

"fine. biden. but this is bullshit."

 

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Donald Trump is the single greatest gift the Democratic Party could ever hope to receive. 

The Democrats have finally achieved their most sought-after position: every thinking person must now vote Democrat, no matter what. They can now run whoever they want with whatever consequences that will have, because the alternative is an existential threat to the country itself. Both parties, of course, have always been an existential threat to other countries, but this time every person living in the Empire is up against it.

And this will be the gift that keeps on giving for as long as the party exists. All hope of organizing and building an alternative has ended, certainly for as long as can be forecast. 

All the Democrats have to do is overcome the vote suppression, election fraud, threats of violence, actual violence, and the Electoral College, and they're safe from democracy and progressive thought forever. It's no small task, but this time, at least, they appear motivated to try.

I thought Trump would never get the Republican nomination. 

Then I thought Trump would never win.

And now, a third thing I thought I'd never see: Joe Biden can become the next POTUS and we'll all be happy and relieved.

* * * *

When it comes to choosing not to vote for either of the ruling parties, I understand most perspectives, because I've stood at all of them at different times.

I was raised in a very progressive household, where the accepted wisdom was to vote for the most progressive Democrat in the primaries, then hold your nose and vote for whoever got the nomination. My father -- the prime political influence of my youth (yeah, the same crap dad you've heard about had great politics, as long as he didn't have to live by them) -- believed that the "democracy in the streets" at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago is ultimately what brought us Nixon, the escalation of the war in southeast Asia, and everything else that came with it.

In my early 20s, I was still arguing that "a vote for x is a vote for x" -- as in, a vote for the third party candidate ultimately helps the Republican get elected.

After Bill Clinton fucked us over, I started seeing the differences between the Democrats and the Republicans as window-dressing, started caring more about building a movement for a new party as more important than enabling the second-worst corporate shills, and voting for the military industrial complex.

Besides, the Electoral College made my vote moot anyway. Voting in New York State, I didn't influence the election, so I could choose a protest vote while working to help elect the Democrat candidate in Pennsylvania and Ohio, the nearest swing states. 

* * * *

And I don't buy, and will never buy, the simplistic myth that support for Ralph Nader brought us Bush, and even more will I never buy that support for Bernie Sanders brought us Trump. 

The blame for Trump lies in many things -- vote suppression, fraud, the Electoral College -- but above all, the blame lies with the hubris, arrogance, and essential antidemocratic orientation of the DNC, which nominated one of the most hated people in modern American political history. 

We can argue all day about why people hate Hillary Clinton and whether or not its deserved (I personally think she's the American Margaret Thatcher), but the fact is that she is hated and was hated, and she couldn't possibly have won. But the DNC was more concerned with itself and its own existence than with -- well, with anything else.

And then progressives are blamed! Supporters of Bernie Sanders! That is rich. Rather than listen to the clamour of, you know, the voters, ignore them, then blame them.

* * * *

Donald Trump is the single greatest gift the DNC has ever had. 

I've seen nothing to dissuade me from this belief, and everything I observe every day confirms and re-confirms it. Because now there truly is no choice. Everyone who doesn't support fascism must vote for Joe Biden.

Joe Fucking Biden! For crissakes! Joe Biden is everything that's wrong with the Democrats all rolled up into one doddering idiot. He was a ghost through all the primaries, then one day, out of nowhere, he's the man to beat and can't be beat and Bernie who, Elizabeth who? Whatever, the Dems and the media fixed it up and now we want everyone to vote for him, yay!

The one good thing I can come up with about him is that he's preparing to fight for the vote. Thank fucking christ someone is prepared to do that, after fucking Al Gore (who supposedly would be saving us from climate change right now, if not for Ralph Nader -- people actually believe that!) and fucking John Kerry rolled over like two sacks of corporate-funded jellyfish.

And then we will all be so happy and grateful and relieved that Trump is (eventually) out of the White House and we'll be so happy that a Democrat is in the White House and everything will go back to normal. 

Normal invasions and occupations. 

Normal infinitesimally small economic improvements. 

The normal liberal social fiddling and window dressing that bring a few well-placed victories to continue the appearance of progress. Sure, equal marriage is very important, but that heralds a more just society to the same extent that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 did.

* * * *

And if we all continue to repeat the lie that progressives and third-party voters brought us Trump, we will never have to worry about the threat of Sanders or anyone like him again. (Sanders, a Democrat, by the way! Not even trying to pretend otherwise, yet we are still so threatened by him?) And I'm told that AOC and The Squad prove that it's not business as usual in the Democratic Party! Say what? Howard Dean says hi. Greetings from Paul Wellstone. From Tom Harkin. From whoever, they've always been there, the left-leaning Democrats, bringing the left-leaning voters into the fold, serving their powerless purpose. 

I don't doubt their sincerity, and their belief that they can create change. And perhaps something entirely new will happen. If I turn out to be wrong, I'll be thrilled to admit it.

* * * *

In case you're not reading carefully, I'm not suggesting that anyone who votes in the US should do anything except vote for Biden. I personally have not voted in the US since 2004 and I never will again. But those of you who do, this time there is literally no choice.

Fine. Biden. But this is bullshit.

9.14.2020

cpmvfsgu day 7: salt spring island (sunday)

Today's big news is that the GP Dermatologist in Campbell River will see me on the day we are driving through that town, on our way home. Which is two days from now! I'm so relieved I could cry.

I called and pleaded my case -- to be honest, just a simple explanation, I didn't need to exaggerate! -- and also explained we would be passing through town in a couple of days. The scary part was waiting to see if they actually had the referral. I suppose if they hadn't, I could have corrected that with more phone calls. 

The best thing is once the doctor sees me, I'll be able to follow up by phone, without a huge amount of waiting.

* * * *

There was also some conditional good news from Oregon, as my brother and sister-in-law, nephew, grand-niece, etc., are back in their homes, and have power for the first time in nearly a week. They live on a hillside; those in the valley below have lost everything. Last we spoke, SIL was looking into how they could volunteer and/or donate to help the community. I can't even imagine what people are going through.

* * * *

Yesterday was uneventful, thank goddess. 

We had delicious lamb burgers for lunch at the Burger Bar, sitting outside on the water. It's overcast and chilly, which is lovely. 

We went to Country Grocer, which, as it turns out, is a very nice store, but not the Greatest Supermarket Ever. This is mildly amusing, as Allan normally believes I am exaggerating.

We had Zoom drinks with friends, who also happen to be a nephew and niece-in-law. 

And we read.

And that was it! Which was perfect.

There are several things I want to blog about, but can't get past lying on the couch reading.

9.13.2020

cpmvfsgu day 6: salt spring island (saturday)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times? Perhaps not as dramatic as all that, but yesterday was a tale of two days, for sure.

We had a leisurely morning -- well, when you barely sleep, all mornings seem long -- and drove the dogs over to Salty Dog, the local daycare and boarding spot. When I made the arrangements, Jaime was the opposite of every doggie daycare place I've spoken with in any city. She was so totally laid back. Whatever day, whatever hour, just come on by. She didn't ask for vaccination certificates or do an aggression test. She does boarding as needed, grooming if you want it, she raises Husky puppies, and she's open 24/7 to accept rescues, which she tries to rehome, but will keep if need be. 

We followed signs up a rutted mountain road -- perhaps this is why she does pick-up and drop-off? -- until the sound of barking told us we were in the right place. There was a large collection of outdoor kennels -- clearly homemade, irregularly shaped, some projects with lumber and tools where more are being built -- lots of lovely large dogs barking, some by themselves, some two or three together, and one kennel with a few adults and a bunch of puppies, an extended Husky family, little pudgy guys playing and staring.

Jaime is very friendly, and I felt she has the perfect attitude about the dogs -- assured and professional, but relaxed. 

I had made a mental note to myself to tell Jaime that one dog (ahem) is an escape artist, but the first question she asked was, "Do they escape?" I had to laugh. I told her about Cookie, and she moved some dogs around to give our two an escape-proof kennel. 

She has miles of wooded trails on her property, and took them off for a walk in the woods, and we made our getaway. 

* * * *

We went off to the Saturday Market, which is set up in the village of Ganges. Ganges is a mix of regular stores that island residents need, restaurants, and touristy boutiques. Touristy, but not schlocky -- everything is local and handmade, and to my eyes, not extremely expensive. The Market is nice, full of local craftspeople and artists, many with the usual stuff, and several with more unusual and unique offerings.

I instantly fell in love with some inventive carved art that would look amazing on our deck. I assumed pieces would be more than $1,000, and I would admire and move on. I was amazed to see the one I liked best with a relatively modest $300 price tag. Not that we can drop $300 at a craft fair without thinking -- hardly -- but when we travel on "big" trips, we do usually come home with one special item, rather than a lot of little things, like our papyrus painting from Egypt or a gorgeous vase from Ireland. We haven't bought anything new for our first and much-beloved home, and the deck is the best part of the house. 

We chatted with the artist for a while, then I thought we'd make a whole circuit and see how we felt when we came around again. 

Amazingly, I did not buy one set of earrings, not one piece of pottery. The only thing I saw that really appealed was some interesting bead work made entirely out of rose petals -- an ancient technique, and we are told, where the word rosary comes from. (Early Christians got it from Muslims, who learned it from ancient Hindus on the subcontinent.) The rose-petal beads are black, and the artist accents them with freshwater pearls, or brightly coloured beads. I was thinking of buying something for my mother -- she would love them -- but they were really out of my price range.

So we wandered through, looked at many things, ate a few things, briefly considered buying a few things but did not, and made our way back to Lorne Tippett. We looked at all the pieces he had displayed -- and had different favourites! Oh no! We discussed and compared and negotiated... we went back and forth... but in the end, home things are my domain. I couldn't bring Allan around, so I overruled him. Hey, he did the same to me with the house itself! I was just absolutely sure that this was the design we needed for our deck. 

I'll post a photo of it later on. It's the kind of art I would have drooled over when I was younger, wishing I could afford such a thing. I felt really happy to be able to indulge this, and one should never feel guilty about supporting artists.

We also bought a funny, funky change-purse for our grand-niece Sophia (who started kindergarten this week by Zoom... and also helped pack up for fire evacuation...). The artist makes bags (purses, totes, luggage) out of discarded tweed jackets, then makes change purses from the scraps, accenting the dark tweed colours with brightly-coloured zippers for mouths and funny buttons for mismatched eyes. Each change purse has a name, and we bought "Maude" for Sophia. (Pics to follow.)

* * * *

So that is perhaps too much detail about this little market, but the day would soon take a sharp turn. Allan wanted to check out the bookstore (shocking, I know), but I thought we would have some gelato first. I considered choosing sorbetto -- I have been supposedly avoiding dairy in case the hives are a dairy allergy. But I did not. I ordered gelato.

I sat and ate the gelato. 

And then I was instantly overcome by the worst itching I have ever experienced. Hundreds of welts appeared on my hands and arms, and I could feel them popping up from my scalp to my toes. I convinced Allan to move along without me, and I went to the car, and just attacked myself. Blood was running down my legs and my arms. I was crying from the intense itching. 

I was also having some trouble breathing. Not need-to-call-911 trouble, not anaphylaxis, but I could feel inflammation in my bronchial tubes and needed my inhaler. 

When Allan came back, I convinced him to take me back to the cottage and go out without me. I'd much rather he enjoy himself alone than feel I was keeping him from something. I couldn't convince him to go to winery or ciderey without me, but I urged him to go back to the bookstore and to pick up the dogs when he was done. 

We talked about whether or not this was dairy-related. That may sound ridiculous given what I've just described, but hives do ebb and flow in intensity. But we realized we hadn't seen anything like this -- so sudden, and so intense -- since they started. We also realized that I have not been completely dairy-free for the past week. I've had little or no appetite, and have been  working my way through two giant bags of my favourite junk food -- white-cheddar popcorn and Cheetos. There's enough dairy in those things that I need Lactaids. So it's possible I've been keeping the hives alive...! 

Anyway, by the time we got back to the cottage, I was crying. Allan brought me ice packs and I drank as much water as I could stand, which is really important with any allergy attack. I was coughing, and felt feverish, and the itching was just mind-boggling.

* * * *

Allan came back later with the dogs and a lot of books. The dogs were happy, but Allan was disappointed that they had been in a kennel enclosure by themselves -- together, but without other dogs to play with. I kind of expected that, and honestly, I think it's fine. They were outdoors, in a really large enclosure, like a big yard -- and they had each other. Which is how they spend most of their days! Plus they could look at and bark at other dogs, which was probably fun. But it made their daddy sad.

The cottage has a large clawfoot soaker tub, so I took advantage of it with an oatmeal bath, the first I've had in quite a while. I had stopped the daily oatmeal soaks because hot water exacerbates hives, and a tepid bath is very unappealing. But now I see that just a slight reduction in temperature is enough. 

Allan picked up dinner from a seafood restaurant down the street, and I had a bite or two of real food. I did the oatmeal soak and used some oatmeal balm, and took a lot of allergy meds, and after all that, was able to read and relax, and eventually got some sleep. 

This morning, Sunday morning, the hives are still much worse than they were pre-gelato. 

I'm going to call the dermatologist, and see if I can get triaged up, as I'm in such distress. 

* * * *

The area where my mother, brother, sister-in-law, nephew, grand-niece, and nephew's partner live has been devastated by wildfire. Whole towns and communities have been reduced to ash. The air quality is dangerous. My mother has COPD; if the retirement community where she lives has to evacuate, she won't be able to breathe. 

Other nephews, nieces, and friends are not far off, in areas of California where the sky is orange with fires and heavy with ash.

Given everything else that's going on in the US, this is cruel.