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Thursday, July 31, 2008


Home again, home again. It's nice to be back.

The trip went well... I ate a lot of salads and even ordered a bun-less burger for the first time ever. Jim found a restaurant in Traverse City for our anniversary that was excellent.

Unlike a lot of people with Celiac disease, I don't really talk to the waiter very often about my diet requirements, I just order based on menu information and ask about the sauces and toppings if I'm not sure. It usually works out pretty well. So, except for the appetizer, everything was completely edible and great.

We went to the Bower Harbor Inn restaurant, and I had a wonderful dish of beef medallions with country mashed potatoes and asparagus. Jim had the filet mignon, and it was probably the best steak I have ever tasted in my life. (Normally we don't share, but it was so good that he said I had to taste it to believe it. He was right.) The appetizer was a tuna tartar, but it had strips of fried something on top, and I didn't eat that, just in case. The tuna and vegetables were fabulous, though. If you ever get up to Traverse City, MI, and want a fine dining experience, go to the Bower Harbor Inn. It's excellent!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My first gluten-free trip

Well, so much for this being a daily blog. I guess I'll have to get to it as often as possible, and be happy with that. :)

Tonight we leave for our big summer trip, and I am looking forward to it, but I am also a bit hesitant. I guess I'm just not sure what I'll find to eat. Oh, well. It'll be fun, even if I eat nothing but fruit and french fries. yummm, french fries.


Last night I was bad. We have a new Little Ceasar's. Jim picked some up for his dinner; unfortunately, he got home before I had a chance to eat my dinner. Long story short, I had a killer tummy-ache yesterday. It was worth it. I adore Little Ceasar's. I don't think I'll be doing that again, though.

If nothing else, it laid to rest the thought that perhaps even this diagnosis was all in my head: trust me, I couldn't have faked that gastric reaction through mental power alone!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Do the butt dance!

My dog has an itchy bottom. Well, my husband's dog has an itchy bottom.

Problem is, she's a bulldog, and they're not known for their flexibility. So, in order to reach her itchy bottom, she sits up on her back legs and twitches from side to side, chasing the bottom that she cannot reach to scratch.

Sometimes she forgets to go back and forth and ends up going in circles.

Sometimes she chases the itch up towards her back and ends up flipping over.

Sometimes the itch is particularly annoying =, and she starts snorting and snapping at her bottom. Her poor, poor bottom, which she cannot reach.

It is the funniest darn thing I have ever, ever seen.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

"Thanks for grounding me, Mom."

Ok, so first off, I thought kids only said that in corny Hallmark movies.

Second, my kid actually said that to me today. It was followed by, "Will you forgive me for getting mad at you over a stupid video game?" (Ummm... YES!)

I asked her why she was willing to say thanks for getting grounded, and she said that she realized she had been playing too much lately and that now she would have time to work on her summer reading goal (self-set) and her crafts and her drawings and her stories.

It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. :)

So tonight, instead of video games, we played Othello. She won. Then I won. Good times.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Today was a hard day to be gluten free

For breakfast, I lost my appetite. I got a bowl of cherries and a bag of pistachios instead, but still didn't really eat much.

For lunch, I split a little bit of leftovers with Jimmy, then later on for a snack I finished off the cherries.

I finally got my appetite back for dinner, and was all prepared for burgers and fries. BUT I forgot that I had no more fries. So while everybody else ate their burgers and mac and cheese, I ate my burger salad and some canned yams. Mm-mm-canned. Blech. Stupid hamburger salad and stupid canned yams. I feel like binging on carbs. Bad, evil, nasty, gluten-filled carbs.

The night wasn't a total loss, though. My hamburger salad is actually quite yummy. It's just that sometimes different isn't that fun. I don't want different, not today, no matter how yummy. I just want to be "normal".

In case you feel like trying something bizzare, but quite tasty, here's my recipe for hamburger salad. It's tangy and sweet. YUM.

On a bed of assorted greens (I use a spring lettuce and spinach mix), place a scattering of...
grilled onions,
green olives,
burger patty with provolone cheese (2 slices, with grilled onions between), and
top with balsamic viniagrette dressing, and eat!

Last time I made the salad with different toppings.
grilled onions,
grilled mushrooms,
bacon crumbles,
burger with colby jack cheese, and
raspberry viniagrette dressing.

This version was sweeter and heartier. I liked it, too.


Cheer up! Bread is for chumps!

PS You can also check out this hamburger salad and dressing recipe:

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Coaster Freaks

So this is the second Wednesday in a row that we've decended upon King's Dominion.

Last week we hit the waterpark and put Jimmy on his first floorless coaster: the Dominator. He was too little last year when the rest of us rode it at Geauga Lake.

This week, we just needed to get Jim's card and then we decided to hit a few coasters. We did almost the whole park in just 3 hours. No one was there: it had been raining on and off all day. It was GREAT.

It's nice to be a family of coaster nuts. Jimmy is officially one of us this year. He's tall enough to ride all the rides, and when we force him to try something new (it's a family law), he almost always just loves it.

Next week we leave for our 2nd annual amusement park trip. This year we're going to hit King's Island and Cedar Point. Perhaps we'll swing by Michigan Adventure, too, but we haven't decided yet. I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What to read....

So, I finished reading Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison a few days back, and I can't decide what to read next. I have so many things to read by the end of the summer, and I just can't pick! I have Shakespeare, Stienbeck, Aristotle, Wharton.... so many. It's a nice problem to have, I guess.

Here's what I am reading, though: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Very very good so far. I've only read about a third of it. It's an excellent dystopia about America and its crumbling, corrupt infrastructure and corporate world.

PS Grocery shopping takes FOREVER now. I look forward to the day when I don't have to look up the product online before I go, stand in the aisles reading labels, and call companies on my cell phone because I want to make an impulse buy. Sheesh!

Monday, July 7, 2008

God's love

Here's a thought to rattle around in your head for a while.

In Kidmo today, Johnny showed a guy watering a garden with a hose and said, "You see that hose? That's regular love."
Then he showed a clip of Niagara, with the water thundering over the falls, and said, "You see that? That's God's love."

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Eat your Veggies!

Moms are full of good advice.

I tried explaining to my daughter this week how I always know/want what's best for her, and I'm always looking out for her, and that when I feel cold, that it means she needs to wear a sweater... she's 11, and I don't think she believed me on that last bit. She gave me the look that I give my husband when he tells me he doesn't NEED to go see the doctor.

Moms are full of good advice, though, even if we're not sure where our inspiration comes from.

With my son, who is 8, I tried to explain how I could always tell what he'd done by how he cried. That there is a cry that means "Feel bad for me" and one for "Ow. That hurt, but I'm fine" and one for "GET OVER HERE NOW!!!!!" He gave me the look that Annie gave me when I told her she was cold and needed a sweater.

Moms' advice dispensers are always in action; we like to train our kids to be good, responsible, thrifty, dependable, tidy, honest, all those things we wish we were more often. In spite of the looks we get for sounding like living fortune cookies. In spite of the fact that we often feel like we're making it up as we go along. In spite of the fact that it seems like we sound a lot like our own moms when we get really worked up about that good advice that is being ignored for the millionth time....!

Thanks, moms, grandmoms, step-moms, foster moms, neighbor's moms for giving us the good advice that we'd need to pass on.

Now, eat your vegetables! And be careful with those fireworks! You could put your eye out with those things!

Friday, July 4, 2008

10,000 BC

Well, I have a new movie to add to my list of bad movies that I rather enjoy.

The narrator kills this movie. Imagine Meerkat Manor, but with people. There is some dialogue, and a couple pretty decent action sequences, too. The problem is that the movie has no quiet time, no emotional time, no character building time. Just when you think that there is going to be some sort of "moment", the narrator breaks in with a comment.

"D'Ley knew that he must ...."


If they had yanked the narrator, and allowed the characters and plot to develop on their own, it would have been good, I think. Maybe.

There was an alternate ending which actually showed the narrator talking to a group of children, passing along the story. If the movie had started with that, and then the narrator faded out until the very end, that could have been good, too.

But overall, it was cheesy and silly. It was bad. I loved it.

Rating: 2.5 of 5 sporks

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Celiac Disease

Today marks 2 weeks since my doctor called and told me that I have Celiac disease.

I was pretty sure that he was going to say the tests were positive, but in the back of my mind I kept thinking that he was going to be like the rest of the doctors and tell me that there really wasn't anything wrong with me. That the tests were negative. That I should get some exercise, drink more water. That it, once again, was all in my head, and didn't I want to go talk to go talk to my psychiatrist?

But he didn't. He said that both antibodies tested positive, and that I'd best come see him to make some diet changes. Fortunately, I'd been reading up on celiac disease and was ready(ish) to do so.

So these two weeks have been quite the learning experience. I've thrown a few tantrums. I've made myself sick a couple times. I've even tried some really horrible gluten-free products. (There have been some really good ones, too, though!) I've spent a lot of time online finding a celiac listserv, facebook groups, recipe and product websites, and I've been checking out books from the library, too.

I'm being careful and getting the hang of the new dietary restrictions. I even went to a "fresh-squeezed lemonade" stand at King's Dominion yesterday and asked if it was really fresh or not. (It's not. It's Minute Maid with a half a lemon dropped in.) And at dinner, I remembered to ask about ingredients in the marinade on the chicken in my salad.

In the books and blogs and things that I've been reading, it seems like dealing with celiac and going gluten-free is the hardest thing in the world. So many people seem so angry and negative! I have found others who are positive, but because of the sheer volume of negativity, it feels like I must be doing something wrong by not being more upset or having a harder time with the gf issues.

I'm not trying to say that it's been a breeze finding gf foods, but it hasn't been impossible. And there are a lot of things I can't eat now. Jimmy (my son) keeps offering me food, and then saying, "oh, wait... Does it have wheat in it?" He seems so sad for me. But, honestly, I'm doing Ok. I have found new foods to eat and new ways to eat old foods, and the rest... I guess I just don't mind not eating them.

When I look at the stuff that I've always really, really craved and enjoyed (like bread or funnel cakes or pasta) it just doesn't have the same appeal to me now. Yes, I want to eat them still, yes, I've been tempted to take just one bite, but I know what it'll do to me later. It's the whole beautiful-but-deadly syndrome. Even just one bite of poison is still poisonous, right? So why do something that will be harmful? If there's something that I want that badly, I'll find a way to have it safely. If there's no way to do that, then I just skip it. There's no point in getting all hang-dog about it.

I guess what it comes down to is that there are so many things that I CAN eat. There's no reason to focus on the "can'ts". I've decided to have a positive attitude; I've always enjoyed trying new foods. I like to bake, so I'm making my own breads as I want them. My family is very supportive, too.

There really are a lot of gf foods out there, once you start looking. I felt at the beginning of these two weeks like gluten was the boogey-man, lurking where I least expected, ready to cause injury when I wasn't paying attention. What I'm finding instead is that there are oodles of foods, dressings, and sauces that I can have.

I guess that the food industries have caught on to the needs of us celiacs, because some of the books I have constantly talk about how difficult it is to deal with corporations and restaurants. I haven't really had those troubles, though. Hopefully, when we go on our trip later this month, that will continue. I think that the trip will be the true test of how accessible food is. I haven't been eating out much yet.

This disease has actually brought a lot of benefits with it. It has forced me to make a lot of healthy changes. Yes, there are still many junk foods and cookies that I can have, but it's easy to say no, especially when gf foods cost at least twice what regular does or when I'm just not sure yet what's gf and what's not.

As a result of all this, I'm eating better, I'm losing weight, and my family is eating better, too. I have more energy, and I'm not sick. I didn't even realize that I felt so sick. The symptoms had gradually built up over time, and I was just attributing them to aging, I guess. I eventually felt that something must be wrong; that's what sent me to another new doctor. I just didn't expect such dramatic changes to happen.

The physical changes that I have felt in the last month and a half, first simply going without wheat, dairy, and corn; then just without wheat; then totally gluten free are astounding. I just can't get over how amazing I feel in comparison to what I had taken for normalcy.

Here's to many more positive, healthy weeks!

Here are a few resource links for you other new celiacs out there (more to follow in the weeks to come):
A US pizza restaurant chain that offers gf foods
To satisfy your sweet tooth
Information and resources

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


It's that time of year again: time for July and fireworks. We started celebrating yesterday with a few small things that we bought at a TNT Fireworks corner stand. We're going to do a few every night until the 4th.

This year I let the kids lite some of their own: magic snakes and smoke bombs and the like. They were sooooooo excited. I love fireworks, too. Can't wait for the real thing on the 4th!
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