Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Me: Can you get me another cup of coffee?
Son: Why me?
Me: Because I carried you for nine months, then gave birth to you, and raised you so that this moment would come. So worth it!
Son: You are a sick and twisted Mommy.
Returns with coffee, and proceeds to talk for five minutes about Yugi Oh cards.
Me: Look, I haven't been able to read a page since you came back in!
Son: And yet... you carried me for nine months, gave birth to me, and raised me. You knew this moment would come.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Quotable Quotes

These are some of my favorite lines this week, in no particular order.

Daughter, turning page in piano music and seeing a sea of notes: "Oh, sweet niblets."

Spanish conversation class: "Por que viene el oso?"*

Girlfriend, explaining how she told the car dealer she wasn't going to move from his office until he made it right: "Civil disobedience is my hobby."

Son: Mom, you should stop picking up. It's my room, my mess, and my responsibility to pick it up.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Salty Dog Edition

In honor of Intl. talk like a pirate day, which I believe is tomorrow.

Daughter, at dinner: You remember you said you'd give me that thing?
Me: --?
Daughter: That crunchy thing?
Me: ---?
Daughter: Oh, you know. Starts with a "b." ... Barnacle?
Me: ----?!
Son: It's another word for toffee.
Me: Butterscotch?
Daughter: That's it!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Three (Sometimes Bizarre) Things...

... that made Daughter exclaim this week:

Daughter: Are we on a highway?
Me: Yes.
Dauther: Cool!!

Me: I can assure you, you are not adopted.
Dauther: Cool!! (Singing: I'm not adopted!)

Daughter: Smiley is a kid's name.
Me: Well, he's still called Smiley. Kids grow up too. You'll still have your name when you grow up.
Daughter: You mean, you were called Casie when you were a kid?
Me: Uh, yeah.
Daughter: Cool!! I get to keep my name!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The GF Scoop!

I was asked this week if going GF has been difficult, and decided a longer answer to the question is in order. So, herewith another post on the gluten free life!

The easy answer is, of course: well, Son is now hale and healthy and has muscles. So, "priceless," and all that. But it's also a platitude. Because, yes. It can be very difficult at times.

When we first got the diagnosis it was a relief of sorts. We were the ones who had asked to have celiac panels run, etc, so it wasn't exactly an enormous surprise to us (although it did seem to be to the pediatric gastroentorologist at Children's Mercy). Still, we had a blizzard to ride out, had just arrived back from Middle Earth the day before school went back, I was teaching a grad class, and what on earth to feed Son in the hours that immediately followed? We got by on lots of mixes, and although I did purchase a whole heap of recipe books it was with the best of intentions and not much time to learn new tricks. The blizzard was actually a godsend as it kept me indoors away from other human beings and shopping on the internet while we weathered the news.

The semester got easier. We learned new things: assess the school cafeteria eating environment; ask the teacher for a list of birthday dates in Son's classroom so as to be able to provide something tasty for him when cupcakes were being consumed; send pizzas to the local pizzeria when the school took Son there to celebrate something with an external reward. For the most part, Son enjoyed feeling Special throughout this time. He enjoyed the feeling of being a medical mystery (something that has cost us a lot of money over the years, I must say).

The kitchen became GF in the first week. Bye bye: toaster, bread bin, cereals, crumbs in the cupboards, and our favorite bread board made out of ancient kauri from New Zealand. (A replacement is finally on its way, as I type.) Daughter was initially frustrated by not being able to eat chicken nuggets in the house, but is now quite happy in the realization that she gets gluten in sealed packets in her lunch, and can eat anything she wants to out in the world. For now, at least. She had a blood test to check for antibodies (not a fun five minutes) and is currently clear.

Then the summer arrived, and with it the end of my deferred best intentions. Time to step up, and become self-reliant! Bought a bread machine. Baked, and baked. Have found (with the help of One Piece of Cake at a Time--see blogroll, and several of my recipe books, and the internet) some new family favorites. Chocolate cookies that all kids love. Almond joy that adults say is the best they've ever eaten. Went against years of low fat wisdom and bought a frier which, when coupled with a french fry potato cutter, is now responsible for french fries once a week at dinner. Son is now far from feeling deprived. We use GF beer in the crock pot. Eating at home is easy. Sending Son on sleepovers or playdates with food is easy.

He has his moments of frustration. He has said it's a bit annoying to show up with a food kit to a friend's house. He can't eat licorice. And the chinese buffet is pretty much a thing of the past.

I have to say that for both of us (as I too am affected): restaurants are the hardest to bear. The gap between what is supposed to happen (request conversations with the cook; request that they cook meat wrapped in foil if they cannot change out the grill; request that they use clean utensils and avoid touching anything else with them; ask a million questions about what's in the marinade... I mean, who thinks that is a fun way to eat out?) and what actually does happen is wide. Holla Red Lobster for actually volunteering to switch out the grill and grab utensils from their dishwasher in reponse to our careful menu questions, by the way. You rock. Usually what happens is a slab of meat with as little on it as possible, and a "hope for the best" attitude.

So the long answer is more complicated. Lovely to feel healthy, and have Son look and feel healthy. Glad his vitamin and mineral absorption is looking good, and his teeth don't seem to have suffered from lack. Annoyed that his life will be markedly different, and still feeling guilty (it is genetic after all). Glad that labelling laws and product availability are getting better every single day, but annoyed that very few people understand that it's more than a food allergy: it's an auto-immune disease, and yes: one bite does hurt. Glad we're out of the six months of lactose intolerance and ban on eating GF oats until Son's stomach has healed enough to reintroduce those foods. Glad it's not something worse, or more medically managed, but nervous that Crohn's is also still in the picture, pending another biopsy in the new year. Worried about teen depression, which is apparently more likely for diagnosed celiac teens.

Hope this is interesting and/or informative. I know there are many other ways of handling celiac and the GF lifestyle, and this post may not be as upbeat as someone else would write it. But there you have it!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Another Reason Why Gluten Can Be Bad For You

First day of September, and already that crisp hint in the air of the 105 degrees to come today. Seriously, this has got to stop.

But I digress. Today's story is about Hubby's journey in GF land. Son and I were diagnosed with celiac disease early in the new year. Out of deference to Hubby and Daughter we attempted a split kitchen... for a week. At the end of that week, Hubby realized the sheer cross-contamination impossibility of such a thing, and since that time our whole house has been GF zone. Daughter eats girl scout cookies in her school lunch, on on the back patio. Hubby dines out to get his "fix."

But Hubby misses sourdough bread too much. And I know it is possible to make GF sourdough, so no need to tell me. But 1) old dog who just spent months learning a heap of new baking tricks and can't yet take on another one, and 2) Hubby likes the "store boughten" kind. 3) It isn't just sourdough. It's canned ravioli, frozen burritoes, and everything else guaranteed to clog the arteries and give you diabetes from carb overload. I finally caved, and purchased a loaf of sourdough, had it sliced in the store, and then bought a survival kit of sliced cheese, deli meats, etc, for him to take to work and make there.

The bread sat in its bag for a couple of days as Hubby wrapped his mind around making his lunch at work. I said if that loaf goes mouldy, I won't repeat the experiment.

Two days ago, he came home, made the sandwich on a plate, in the sink, and was "parched" because he "couldn't touch anything with his gluteny hands and couldn't turn on the faucet without dousing his sandwich." Clearly, that wasn't the solution.

Yesterday, he called me after lunch with a new tale of woe. He went home and decided to make his lunch in the man room. It has a microwave, and a fridge. It is a gluten zone. He has a supply of gluten snacks for game nights out there. It was obviously a perfect choice for Plan B. He used a paper plate, tipped out a can of ravioli, and nuked it. (Doesn't really count as food, I know.) But the paper plate objected to having hot, slightly runny food on it and sloshed molten ravioli onto his right hand as he extracted the plate from the heating device. In pain, he grabbed the plate with his left hand, and repeated the results which, he said, "felt like napalm."

He now has a blister on each hand. Kind of like gluten stigmata. And let that be a lesson to all.