Pizza (April Page 12)

Dear Gluten-Free Pizza,

Please don’t tease me any more. Please don’t make promises that you are going to taste great or that I won’t be able to tell the difference. Seriously… I will know even though we both know that I can no longer have real pizza and don’t quite remember the taste of it.

I do know however what good food tastes like and please believe me that I will know the minute that I take it out of the oven if it is going to be good, bad or I can eat this.

Please let your pizza, be good. I am not asking for great. I would like a crispy crust and not to have to eat the pizza just because I pay ten dollars for it. Cause I will eat it because even my gluten free diet is not a health fad.  When I eat gluten, it makes me sick. It isn’t a fashion statement and I am not rich.

So please have done your job.

Thank you,

Lu

Adventure Update

I have been in my new home a little over a month.  The storage unit that has haunted me isn’t half-way empty as I had planned. I wanted to have the unit cleared out and most if not all of the stuff stashed away in the spare bedroom.

Plans, I  have reminded myself are meant to be amended. The current one is to clean out the old unit and move to a smaller less expensive one. The opportunity to save money each month is awesome, plus it means finding more and more of my treasures like the first chapter of a friends novel – given to me prior to it’s release, fragments of poems long forgotten and pictures of my first Florida friends.

It will be twelve years ago this May 13th that I moved to Florida.  It is hard to think that much time as past, but something things haven’t changed.  I still have things to let go of; things I am not sure, I am ready to let go, but haven’t used or displayed in years. Chalk it up to the fear of losing one more thing after a life time of loss. Then realizing that what I have gained over the years is so much greater.

Sometimes looking around this new home, I am reminded of how much of the past I have carried with me.  Memories held by objects of where my family has come from and where they hoped to go.  Memories of old lovers and all the promises whispered in passion.  There are new memories waiting to be created as well.  Little by little my life is stitching itself together, once again.

Monday night, I cooked dinner for myself for the week.  Chicken with pesto, zucchini and mushrooms… A yummy way to work on my financial goals.

My other goals are in various states of progress.

I have been walking twice a week and doing all the exercises that my physical therapist recommended. I feel better which was the motivation for restarting this goal.  There is no magic number or dress size that is going to stop this from being a live long habit. When I do slack up, I end up hurting again. The choice makes itself clear.  Pain bad – Exercise good.

Honest… It is amazing how just adding a few things to my routine has helped. Key so far to my success has been no punishing myself for not doing what I want or need to do.  Just enjoying & rewarding myself for doing what I have done.  Not by having cake or sweets, just a good old fashion pat on the back. (Ok and it doesn’t hurt that my jeans are comfy as well as sexy once again.)

It isn’t easy and I am sure that there are going to be days ahead where I fall on my face  big time. Still, my heart remains optimistic    and really does believe  that as long as I don’t stop working towards the future then I haven’t failed.

Ahh… the simple complex things

I am not sure where this post is going, but here I go stepping off the cliff in my own mind.

Human beings are fools.. honestly, we are.  We dominate this gem of a planet and complain about everything under the sun. Even our life giving sun.

For much of the western world, the Christmas season is rapidly approaching.  It is supposed to be a season of love and giving.  Instead for many it is a season of greed and frustration. I am not saying anything new to many of you.  Many folks say that it has always been this way and always will be this way.

So do I have a point?

Well, give me a moment to work on it. As I type I am recovering from an emotional hangover.  I spent last night crying after a fight with a loved one.  Two dear friends listened to me and mentally tucked me in when I finally fell asleep.  I may have been sleeping alone physically; mentally, however, I was being held in the arms of two angels.

This morning, I got up, treated my brain splitting headache and went to work.  My feet shuffled through the house like the condemned. My face painted so that no one would see its stunning impression of a human raccoon.   The kids were cool and did what I asked of them. They have a way of knowing when not to push my buttons.  Especially, I confess second period is one of my favorite classes.  They walked in and we all started writing in our journals. The timer went off and we all just sighed, too tired to notice that it had been in unison. Five students and one teacher letting frustration leave their bodies at the same time.

We could have pushed through the planned lesson, but no learning was going to take place.  So we played a game and relearned how healing laughter is.  One of the girls slipped her journal on my desk, the signal that she wanted it read.

Why is my life so horrible was the gist of the first line. She went on to tell me that her mother whom she was praying to be reunited with was arrested.  She doesn’t know what is going on or why her mother was arrested.  All she knows is that once again life has thrown her a sucker punch and it landed right on her already broken heart.

I wrote her back, as I always do when they ask me to read.  And while I was, I didn’t worry about all the little things that were weighing my shoulders down, I was in the moment, because she needed me to listen and demonstrate that I heard her and cared.  Both of us were smiling when I handled her back the journal.

At lunch I ran out to find food and decided that the golden arches was my best option. Running thru the drive-through, a women stepped forward and asked if I could spare some change.  Her voice sounded like that of an old friend, rich and warm.   I gave her the last two dollars in my wallet.

Today, I felt doomed and trapped when I woke up, and then I was given a gift. It is the same gift that is placed by each of our bedsides every night.  The chance to make my day a good one.  I still feel a little like I have been run over by a freight train, however, the universe has seen to it that there are some bandages holding me together until I mend.

There is so much I could complain about.  So much that many consider wrong in my world.  There is however a soft breeze threading its way through a cracked window giving me relief from the endless Florida heat, a puppy wrapped around me softly breathing and the man who made me cry last night is also the man who walked me up the street to get a slice of gluten free chocolate cake.  I don’t need any gifts for Christmas, there is no need to trample some poor soul to obtain the latest shiny bobble; the simile on my face comes from knowing I am loved and living in the present.

I can’t fix the world, though I believe that people can make a difference when they try. No, stepping off the cliff of my mind tonight has reminded me that we are all on the fool’s journey.  All stepping off the cliffs in our mind again and again, many times not even realizing it; working our way through the world hoping things will change. Forgetting that the definition of failure is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

The day didn’t get better because something changed the normal course, it got better because I transformed myself and let things happen naturally, in metaphysical terms, I stopped trying to be the pebble and became the water.  Moving with the course of my life and discovering things were going the right way, after all, forward. The wrong turn after school lead to a new route to my favorite teaching store. The wrong turn in a relationship lead to a new understanding.

I guess my point is that while we are all fools,  we can have a choice to complain about all we have to do in the coming season, all the woes big and small or we can let ourselves be in the present with open eyes and give ourselves to the world like the man who gave his name to the season did. Let’s not fight over the true meaning of the season.  So what if I tend a Yule fire, you decorate a Christmas tree and the family across the street lights a menorah and there won’t be as many presents as last year because Papi was laid off,  we still have right now to be present with those we love or hope to love.

We have to stop trying to keeping up with the Jones, whose house by the way really isn’t that nice on the inside, and learn to be ourselves.  When I sit down for Christmas dinner with my Momma two days after the actual holiday, I am going to love biting into my Sloppy Joe, not regretting for a moment that there won’t be a turkey and dressing.  All I need will be there.

What no Wheat? How do you live?

It sounds trite to say that life is a journey, but that is exactly what it is to me.  I view my life as a series of journeys to different points of understanding.  One of my current journeys is one that reaches to the core of who were are as human beings, how we deal with food.

Six years ago, a beautiful baby boy came into my life.  He was six pounds and some odd ounces with blond hair and blue eyes.  Robert became sick and wasn’t gaining weight. A photograph of him as a baby sitting in a serving bowl on the kitchen table with a look of resignation on his infant face spoke volumes to me. For Robbie, food was not friendly and not life sustaining. He is still smaller than most kids his age.

I spoke to my sister often and she described the terrible things the little guy was going through.  Robbie was suffering daily and finally the doctor put him on a very restricted diet. Nearly everything was taken out only to be reintroduced one food at a time.

Food…the very same food, I ate as a baby, was hurting my nephew and as it turns out his mother.  My sister, his beautiful mother, discovered that she was a Celiac.  The diagnosis seemed to be the answer to so many things, especially, why my sister suffered so many illnesses and headaches.  It also came at the same time that she discovered another truth, she had Asperger’s Syndrome.

Another diagnosis and more questions answered.   But, that is her story… her journey.   Robbie was also diagnosed as a Celiac.  Thus my family was introduced to the world of gluten free cooking.  Words like cross-contaminated and dextrose became common place in our homes.

Three years down the line, I ordered a pizza.  My Friday night treat and the next day, I felt like well…like poop.  It wasn’t the first Saturday; I spent feeling like I had been run over by my own stomach.  Fatigue had been an issue for me for years. Weeks would go by when it seemed that I couldn’t get enough sleep.

Pasta, my ideal comfort food, only made me feel worse. The fatigue didn’t go away and for the first time I was also feeling bloated.  My symptoms were very similar to my Celiac friends.    So I decided to go without wheat for a week and then a month.

I felt better that first week and in the next month, I was still tired, but there was a remarkable change in my energy level.  Still I was reluctant to get tested for Celiac Disease since my sister had told me it would involve having a colonoscopy.  So I delayed and delayed getting tested and doing my best to avoid the dreaded gluten.

Three, almost four years, later, I finally got tested (a nice painless blood test) and discovered that I am not a Celiac.  I was sure that it would come out positive and strangely I was disappointed. I thought when getting the test that it would validate my choice to eat gluten free.  Then I looked up gluten intolerance and discovered that this fit me.

When I spoke to my doctor, he was non-committal on the issue and basically said that if not eating wheat or gluten made me feel better than do it. I compare it to the old joke about the man who went to the doctor and said “Doc, when I do this, it hurts.” The doctor responded then “Don’t do that!!”

It hurts to eat gluten so I don’t do it. All of this brings me to the door step of my current journey: living a gluten-free.  I live just fine without wheat in my diet.  I will be sharing some of the tasty treats I now enjoy in my gluten free blog; which will coming out soon.