Like the quality of my sleep last night (I kept waking up at 47-minute intervals, for no discernable reason), everything around me feels brittle right now. The holidays aren't over, technically, and yet the veneer of lights and garlands seems pushy and fake all of a sudden, as if the warm temperatures and dry, dry air have evaporated the good spirits with which they were hung.

The trees that usually stay green all year, or reddish green in the case of the red ears that encircle our back yard, seem to think this weather is a redux of autumn, for they are dropping leaves the way a frightened tarantula flings hair, with much abandon, and after, the fallen greenery withers to papery husks to skitter along the ground like senile wrinkled insects.

I've been moisturizing with a vengeance, but even my skin feels brittle, fragile, and my feet are horribly cracked, though the latter is mainly because of my tendency to wander barefoot around the house, and I've broken three nails in two days despite the using hand lotion with almost religious zeal. (Note to self: buy vaseline intensive care foot formula.)

The dogs, still unused to me being at work, trail me restlessly from room to room, and their quiet stages are too-easily interrupted. Where once, Cleo would sit on the back of the couch for hours, now, she leaps up if I even think about leaving the room, as if she's terrified I won't return. I keep assuring them that we will ALWAYS come home, but apparently the English-to-canine universal translator still needs work. I gave them each half a slice of roast beef last night though, in the hopes it would help. When in doubt, treat, treat, treat.

I feel like there isn't enough water in the world to quench my thirst, and I know that I'm reacting to the fires in the area, and the dry, warm Santa Ana-like winds (or rather, their Texas approximation.) I keep imagining us all crumbling to dust like a Whedonesque vampire, except that the cause wouldn't be a stake, but a brittle blade of dried grass.

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