The Friday before last I grumped my way through my morning chores. I felt like I had to rush now that things had amped up again during the first week of the semester. I had to hurry up and get the basics out of the way so I could work on school stuff. I was cranky about not being able to take my time, whether I was pouring hot water over herbs for the cats or sweeping the patio. I hate rushing, don’t know how to do it without getting tense. I could feel myself resisting having to hurry. “So much for sneaking up on high gear and keeping my peace,” I muttered while I washed the dishes with quick strokes. Three nights ago I had bad dreams. In one I came home and found the door standing open, my dog missing. I went out in the rain to find her, stood in the dark and saw someone else’s pet lying dead on the wet street. I remember waking in the night, lying there worrying about whether or not the toilet might fall through the floor, then trying to figure out the best way to approach some temporary online data entry and editing work I’d just begun. My fingers were making little noises as they moved back and forth against the down blanket covering my ear, inadvertent motions, the scratchy sounds of my stress.