Head bump


As George, Ruth and Frances were getting ready to leave for the airport on their journey back home, I reached back and stretched, putting my hands behind my head. As I pulled my hands down, I brushed across the back of my head, and felt a bump.

Earlier today, I was checking Annie for ticks. She has scratches and bruises and various hot spots that I check they are healing nicely. We've found various ticks on her days after her weekly outdoor hike, so I've become a little paranoid about checking her frequently and knowing what bumps and bruises are where.

She has one spot that feels like a tick, but in reality is just a scab over a healing puncture wound. The bump on the back of my head felt similar to that bump on Annie, but I didn't recall injuring the back of my head recently.

In a typical way of mine, I grabbed the scab on the back of my head and pulled.

And pulled.

And pulled.

My hair's getting long. Time for a haircut.

When I pulled it out, I put the bump on the table to look at it.

And discovered it was not a scab, but a tick. A tick on the back of my head. A tick whose source I'm completely clueless about.

I freaked slightly and asked the Cookes to check their heads for ticks, too. My tick was probably from the couch where I slept last night, and where the dogs sleep daily.

I'm still a little weirded out by it. Where the heck that tick was hiding, I have no idea, but it was found in my hair, on my head.

Stupid ticks.

The spider that wasn't


So, I was sitting with my computer on my lap, typing away at the couch, with the television playing some popular show in the background. I was "watching" the episode, which means I was peripherally listening to the show, but mostly concentrating on my work in front of me.

Sitting on the couch is just the worst for movement: I sink into the cushions and just stop moving. Bad for burning those extra 800 calories a day with constant fidgeting, but useful for relaxing.

To my surprise, after a bit of working, I had been so still that a spider crawled up my arm during a concentration pause. When I felt the movement on my arm, and looked down to see it's little black body, I yelped, jumped up and brushed it off.

A few minutes later, Kris walked in. "Did I hear a squawk?"

"Yes! There was a spider crawling on me, and it was THIS BIG!"

He laughed, and wandered into the kitchen.

A few minutes later, the spider was back, and this time, it was crawling across my hand. It was then that I realized that no, this wasn't a spider, spiders don't walk across hands. Oh. My. Tick!

I shrieked, jumped up, slammed my computer down on the table, brushed the tick off my hand and dashed around the table. "Tick! Tick! Tick!"

Moments later, Kris rounded the corner in the kitchen, milk in one hand, pizza in the other, watching me dance at the small bug on the pillow on the couch.

"You know, you can be such a girl sometimes."

"Yes, yes, I know, kill the tick for me, will you?"

Turns out, today's tick didn't attach to Annie on her off-leash run earlier in the day. Instead. it hitched a ride, looking for redder pastures than the muscle-y dog.

Redder pastures. Like my hip, no doubt.

Ticked off, times two


Kris and I made the journey to the Gulls again yesterday, this time taking the girls for a Christmas hike. We were planning on a long hike for Christmas day, where long is greater than three hours. After the call exposing the amazing gifts from the Gulls, we switched plans and asked if they were up for a hike, too. They were interested, but for a shorter one that Liza could walk, and suggested the trails around their new house. A few minutes later, we were on our way.

Kate had been on the trail we were going to hike. The trailhead was near the end of their road, so we wandered down the road, and turned to head along the trail back around to their house.

Once we hit the trail, Kris was terribly keen on letting the dogs off their leashes. Since the trail was along private property, Mike and Kate could give us permission to allow them off leash. I was a little worried about letting them off the leash: that Annie would take off and not return; that Bella would wander off and not return. When we let them off leash at other park, we're confident we'll find them again because not only is the park fenced in (leaving only about 30 acres where the dogs could get lost), but the interesting smells are centralized so they don't go too far. Annie is a beagle in fur only, she acts more like a lab or collie, in that she'll run away along a trail for twenty-thirty yards, then run back to see that you're following, run forward, run back and check. Bella is a true beagle, she puts her nose down, starts sniffing, and wanders away, following her nose.

After a short way down the trail, I agreed to let the dogs off the leashes, but quickly changed my mind when we had to stand around for ten minutes waiting for Bella to wander back to us. We put her on a leash, but left Annie to run, since she seemed to be following us.

Definitely a mistake, as she caught a scent and took off. We kept walking for a bit, as Annie's howls followed us as we walked along, but had to stop again when she seemed to be running along the top of the ridge instead of near us. Some of her howls were almost desperate, a sound Kris assured me meant only that she wanted us to come to her, see what she had caught.

After standing around for another ten or fifteen minutes, and hearing Annie's howls become fainter, I decided to run back to find Annie. I have no idea what possessed me to think that, after three years of ignoring me, Annie would suddenly stop chasing the delicious smell she was following, and come when I called for her. Clearly just dumb on my part.

I gave up after running a quarter mile back along the trail, and ran back to the group, telling Kris he had to go get Annie, she wasn't listening to me. Shock. Mike went with Kris as Kate, Liza, Maeryn and I went back up along the trail. We waited for close to half an hour before Kate gave Liza and I trail directions and instructions on how to break into the house, so that we could turn off the oven, saving the Christmas turkey. Mike hadn't been on the trail before, so Kate didn't feel comfortable just hiking away from Kris and him. She went back to find the boys, as Liza and I went home.

Liza was a trooper. She walked the whole trail, complaining only briefly in the last quarter mile or so. However, even that complaining wasn't really complaining so much as telling me she was tired, and, heck, so was I.

Mike and Kate asked us to stay for dinner, which was a tasty, tasty meal. We went home a little later. After we checked the dogs for ticks, I went to take a shower. That's when I discovered the little hitchhiker.

The poor shadow placement, not withstanding.

I'm really beginning to hate ticks. This is number two in as many years, and, as far as I'm concerned, two too many.

Especially since both are from chasing the dogs into the bushes.

Ticked Off

Water Dog Lake!  (okay, so it's a pond)
This past Sunday, Mike, Kris, Bella, Rossi, Annie and I went to Water Dog Lake in Belmont. It's a nice little hike: about a mile up to the lake, maybe 1/2 mile around the lake, and a mile back. When we head up with Annie and Bella, they walk/run an extra 2+ miles, so it's good exercise for them. Bella tends to get lost in the reeds, but, eh, she's a hunting dog, and she's hunting.

So, we wandered up to the lake and Kris went off with Annie. I went off with Bella. And Mike went off with Rossi. As Rossi is a water dog, it was fitting that she should head into the water. So she did. Which worked well for Mike, as he was recovering from the flu that had him out for a week, and could stand around and watch her romp in the water.

I was not so lucky with Bella. She took off for the underbrush, and I needed to follow her. Up the canyon walls we went. Over the creek. Up the hill. Down the hill. Back over the creek. Through the reeds. Over the fallen trees. Into the mud. Out of the mud.


Given the sheer number of trees I had to scramble over, under, around and through, I was unsurprised when I arrived home with scratches on my arms. What did surprise me (and admittedly freaked me out) was the scratch on my right elbow.

Bella, Dogg & Boots

Or not so scratch: I found a tick embedded into my right elbow when I removed my shirt.

On went the rest of my clothes. Out the door sans shoes I ran, four doors down to Kate & Mike's: tick remover, alcohol and tweazers in hand. Kate doused the fucker in kerosene and popped it out. She did a great job getting most of the head out.

Once I was at the Bergeron-Gull house, the tick was kinda cool. I wish I had taken a picture of the thing. But I had left the house in a panic, so the camera was left behind. And Mike was a little big grossed out at my fascination, too. Heh.

I pulled 3 ticks off Bella, and none off Annie. I think the chasing-of-the-Bella was where I got my tick. Stupid dog.

I have elbow pictures around here somewhere. My elbow totally swelled around the tick bite. There was a small black thingy (about the size of the pointy end of a pin or needle) left in my elbow. The only reason I found it was because my body rejected it and spit it out today. I have a 3/32" blood blister at the bite spot, and a 1/4" red circle around it. I have no stiffness or flu-symptoms, so hopefully I'll be tick-disease free. We'll see. Quite the adventure for the week.