I found a really cool and interesting caterpillar in the backyard earlier this week.


Isn’t that weird? I posted a little video of it crawling on instagram and thought nothing more of it. Until I found another one on my leg. And another one on the back of my chair. And another one fell out of the tree and landed on my head. ICK!

I retreated inside promptly.

The next morning, I chose a different chair, one away from the fire table, at the back of the yard. It’s shaded by a palm tree, not one of the giant live oaks, and I glanced at the palm tree, didn’t see anything crawling, so I didn’t think about it again until I found a caterpillar wending its way along my neck. ICK, ICK, double and triple ICK. I don’t think that caterpillar survived my frenzied determination to get it off, although it might have.

That night, I was trying to sleep and my neck was on fire. I got out of bed and checked myself out in the mirror. It looked like I had 20 spider bites, a cluster of red lumps all along the side by my shoulder where, yes, the caterpillar was crawling. Turns out some people have an allergic response to these caterpillars. It is not a surprise to me that I would be one of them — I swear, my immune system is so paranoid, it thinks everything is dangerous — but it was a bummer. I didn’t get a lot of sleep that night, and felt pretty lousy the next couple of days.

Do you know where the word “lousy” comes from? It means “very poor or bad,” but it’s really a description of how you feel when infested with lice. Being bitten by lots of bugs is a miserable state of being. Being crawled on by poisonous caterpillars is also a miserable state of being. I dragged a chair over to the middle of the yard, no trees overhead, and have been sitting there for now, waiting for caterpillar season to come to its inevitable end. But those caterpillars are no longer on my “cool and interesting” list but my “scream and run away” list. Well, okay, maybe they’re still interesting. But not in the “wow, nature is awesome” kind of way, more the “ugh, nature sucks” way.

In other news… well, no real news. I’ve still been working on all my various projects, still trying to stuff my brain full of information, still experimenting with various technology tools. I found an app this week that felt like it was going to be my new best friend, the thing that let me actually organize all the pieces of information that I’ve got piling up in metaphorical corners, the one that let me structure and retrieve content for my newsletter, my blog, my mailing list, my database — it was gonna be so good. (The app is Notion, fyi.)

But last night I was trying to update a task list and I was tired, so the text felt unreadably small. I tried to zoom in. No zoom buttons! No big deal, I’d just increase the font size. Um, no, turns out I wouldn’t. The font size is set and you can’t change it. WTF? Talk about a product insensitive to aging eyes and people with vision issues! I honestly couldn’t believe that was possible, so went searching the internet for help, but nope, the internet agreed: you are stuck with the text in the size at which it is set. Which is a size too small to be readable on an iPad for me when I’m tired. Dealbreaker. And if I was an HR person at any of the businesses they’re trying to sell this product to, I’d be murmuring about ADA and accessibility and the risks of developing systems in software unsympathetic to potential disability issues. It’s frustrating because I really would still like to use it. It looked like it had such potential, and I’ve been struggling to organize my notes and files in a way that makes them easily findable. I cannot count the amount of time I’ve wasted trying to find, for example, a citation about learning styles research being incorrect. (A thing I searched for yesterday for at least half an hour — I knew I’d seen it somewhere!)

But speaking of wasting time, I should get back to working on my website. I’ve been feeling like building this business is a complicated game of Jenga — which piece goes first, which piece makes the whole thing collapse? — and have definitely concluded that a working website that allows me to collect names for a mailing list is a pretty essential foundation piece. It is not, however, nearly as much fun as playing with Keynote animations and reading books about happiness. Still, the good news is that once it’s done, it’s done, whereas I can keep playing with Keynote and reading books about happiness indefinitely. So, onward!