15 minute posts,  corona virus 2020,  illos,  painting,  place holder posts,  rando bits

New Year, New You, With Spots!


We all knew there was too much pressure on 2021.

(I’ll skip talking about politics because even though it’s a huge big deal that’s not what I do here.)

I started the new year out with SPOTS! Woo Hoo!  I had an ear infection on Christmas. Payam pulled major strings with his mad phone skills (that’s what he does all day for his job) and called my doctor for me while I pulled on my ear like a baby and tried to sleep with hot compresses. The doctor came through with a super strong prescription for antibiotics, probably from his cabin in Aspen or moonlighting at the local ER as a superhero, and I started off the new year with meds!

Nine* days into my prescription to Amoxicillin, my earache was long gone but I broke out in hives and tried to itch my skin off. I’m so glad I shared on instagram even though it was TMI because people came out of the woodwork to say that the same exact thing happened to them. What a relief to be able to narrow this allergic reaction down so quickly. I had a lot to work with: pet dander from an over-achiever golden retriever who sheds enough to knit sweaters daily, a new bra from China that I failed to wash before wearing, msg in all that take-out… There were a million things I could be allergic to, mold, plants with gnats, politics, stress, Google… All of the above?

Anyway it was craaaaaaazy! I’m already a sort of nervous person to begin with. When I have anxiety I become obsessed with my rough cuticles and any little itch or bump on my body so add in some hives and I was literally crawling out of my skin. I hate to take naps but I dosed myself with Benadryl and tried to sleep it away. I’ve been asleep for the past four days. It was the only way to cope.

Monday morning hives started forming on my lips and mouth so I freaked out and went to the ER even though it’s the last place on earth I want to be right now. Thankfully at six in the morning our local ER was not over-flowing with COVID patients. I got in quickly. They gave me a shot of Benadryl in my tattooed arm and I slept. Then the ER did get busy (It’s heart breaking. The doctor checking on me was so stressed out.) and since I was not going into anaphylactic shock they discharged me with some steroids and I went home. I’m really thankful. That could have been a lot worse.

I stood behind an old women in line when I checked in who was obviously suffering from breathing problems. The halls were filled with nurses wearing full head gear and dividers were set up keeping rooms separate…even though our little ER is really nice and new, I could tell they had been in the trenches and were effectively bracing for more.

Now I’m all pumped up on steroids and feeling like Trump (gross, I know). My spots have faded into softer versions of themselves. I probably look like I’m covered in bruises but they don’t hurt and they are only on parts of my body that don’t show so I don’t care. No itching is heavenly!


So just a quick new year check in from me! Sorry it’s so personal when so many other more important things are happening in the world.

Happy 2021! I don’t think I’m going to do a calendar this year. I’ve started several. But I really want to do a different format. I hardly use the full page full of boxes layout anymore. Do you? I want to make a day planner but I have not found a template that lets me customize the art on every page and I really don’t feel like formatting 356 pages. There’s got to be something out there. I know I’m a million months too late but who knows, work might get slow again.

How are you doing my faithful loyal internet friends? Cathy, Gingermog and Susan and a few other lurkers who comment now and then? How do you even find me anymore? I don’t deserve you.

I’ve been writing snail mail letters to friends lately and it’s really been helpful. It’s funny how a phone call or a text just doesn’t do it for me but pounding out a two-page letter is incredibly therapeutic. Blogging after all these years is still my therapy. Thank you.

*I missed a few days and I’m terrible at math.



  • Karen

    Good to see you and glad you got medical attention for your hives. Taking care of ourselves is even more important, these days.

  • Kathy

    You are bookmarked on all of my devices, silly!

    I’m glad you are feeling better.
    My family and I are doing well, but eh – the world. We miss our kids who live out of state. Haven’t seen them for a full year now.

    Happy New Year to you and your family.

  • Jen

    There will always be more important things happening in the world. Doesn’t discount what’s happening to you!! Hives sound terrible.

  • Gingermog

    Eeek! Ear ache and hives, including inside your mouth, wow you have had a douzy of a week or so I am so sorry to hear you’ve been so poorly and had to brave a hospital but alas glad you’ve been able to get some medicine which helps. I’m sure you’ve had heaps of suggestions from other people, but when I came down with a terrible rash in Sri Lanka (from not washing a new long sleeved top – I think I was allergic to the dye), a pure aloe vera gel really helped sooth the spots and itch.

    I have so much respect for health careworkers (teachers, supermarket workers, postal workers, bus drivers, delivery people etc, the list goes on), so many people who are right now risking their lives. Matt and I were talking over breakfast this morning, we hope such workers get recognised, with pay rises, decent pensions and other perks, medals would be good too.

    Hoping by the time you read this your feeling a little less itchy mc scratchy. Possibly use natural, unperfumed soap and hair products for a while. Sometimes when I’ve had a bad allergic reaction the rest of my body just comes out in sympathy and its time to break out the baby shampoo.

  • Allison Jolliff

    My daughter once got an Amoxicillin rash….it’s part of the longest story ever that ended with us putting $5K into her teeth….maybe that will be the topic of my next letter!

    Also, please never stop blogging. No one writes like you do.

  • Stephanie M

    Oh wow, how scary! I’m glad you’re feeling better. I’m still here, and still love to read even your simple updates. I’d love to get (back) together someday when it’s possible!

  • Nina

    I am so sorry this happened to you- it’s strange to think that allergies can happen at any age and it must have been awful having to decide to go to the ER during Covid.

    I had this happen to me a few years ago after I took the first dose of an antibiotic that I had had many times before and within minutes was being treated at the ER. I was warned there that it could happen suddenly with other antibiotics in the future, ugh. Did you get a prescription for an EpiPen? Not a bad thing to have on hand.

    Hopefully, after a rocky start, things will be good for you from here on out.

    I’m glad you’ve kept up with your blog- I’ve followed you since Bug was Baby Bug and your illustrations are wonderful.

    • SAJ

      Thanks, you!!! Yes, I do remember you commenting all these years. I’m so surprised I still have a few of you left. xoxoxoxxoxo!

      No epi pen but I’m definitely not going to take any penicillin derivatives ever again if I can help it.

  • CMcD

    Hi Brenda! My eldest is the same age as Bug, and I’ve followed you from the very beginning. I rarely comment, but I’m always here ??. I’m also in my 40s and we have a lot in common!

  • Carol

    Had the same thing happen to me after taking amoxicillin for strep. When i finished the antibiotic, the hives came. Only steroids brought relief. Enjoy your blog. Please keep writing.

  • Susan

    Well at least you will never have to take amoxicillin again! Ear aches are the worst too. They make me feel ragey ?Don’t worry I’m always going to read. Maybe one of these days I can commission an art piece!

  • Carrie

    I find you when you post on FB. I’m sorry to hear about the spots. How scary, esp having to go into the ER. My doctor keeps making me go in to his office for blood pressure checks b/c my pressure is through the roof at his office–he doesn’t seem to understand it’s the anxiety of being in a place where there might be COVID. Really glad to hear you are doing better.

  • Ami

    Long time reader, rare commenter. I started following you when you did a post about cutting potatoes (I think it was potatoes) into lemon/lime stamps that you dipped in paint to make citrus themed towels/apron/wrapping paper maybe? Bug was wee. I like reading whatever you post.

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