A SNEEZY QUANDRY

So, what do you do when you're allergic to where you live?

As a kid, I spent countless hours of my childhood trekking through the dry creek bed that was directly behind our house. Tripping on hidden blackberry brambles, sipping the honey out of the periwinkle vines and climbing the massive, blooming acacia tree.

Never a sneeze.

Well "never" until last month.

First off all, what kind of weirdo gets allergies in December?! I guess me. And what kind of weirdo gets allergies up in the mountains, with all of that fresh, clean air?! Still me.

So pretty much all of December I've been drowning my eyeballs in Visine and stockpiling boxes of Kleenex; having one box in every room so I was ready for one of my attacks. Our sweet niece Bowie has learned to say "bless you" and in the middle of one of my sneezing fits, I'd try to choke out the words, letting her know that she doesn't have to say it for every sneeze; especially when it could be 15 in under a minute.

The irony is that our recent (and sometimes dreaded) long commutes to the Bay Area have been my salvation. So even though I did not look forward to the 3 hour drives, I was nearly ecstatic to leave the tissue behind.

Well, I'm happy to report that January has finally brought some rain and also the discovery of the cause. My house rampages on all of the possible causes (dust, sweaters, face cream) can now cease.

PINE POLLEN! Ah ha!

Our cozy winter cabin in the woods has pretty much had 50-60 degrees days for an entire month and the usual precipitation (wet or white) has been nearly non-existent. Because of this unprecedented weather, the pollen has been running rampant. But I'm happy to report that as I write this, a steady rain is falling and I've been watching that yellow, dusty pollen wash far far away.

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