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Gluten-free thug life

Someone asked me the other day how long I’ve been gluten-free, and I couldn’t remember. I ended up sounding like a complete moron, I’m sure (this would be different from the hundred other ways I normally sound like a complete moron…), with my response of, “Oh, you know, a bunch of years? Maybe 4 years? Wait, 5 years? 3 years? I MISS REAL PIZZA.” [I just looked it up. 5 years!! Whoa.]

It’s been a long time, is all. And I feel better and my skin isn’t falling off anymore and so that’s all great. I appreciate not being a giant wad of eczema.

In the beginning I tried my hand at various wheat-free substitutes, and spent a lot of money on the gluten-free versions of foods, but it became clear in very short order that:
1) Gluten-free imitations of normally gluten-free foods tend not to taste very good,
and
2) Specialty gluten-free products cost twice as much as their wheat-filled counterparts, either to buy pre-made or to make, myself.

As a bonus: 3) Anything that should be wheaty which is now gluten-free and actually tastes good is generally laden with sugar and salt and fat (yum yum) and really bad for you.

So mostly I just skip the normally-wheat-containing foods. (more…)

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Here, I brought you this snow. It melted.

I wanted to bring you back something awesome from our trip to Breckenridge, but I realized after we got home that I brought back… nothing, really. I mean, I remembered the kids, but to be fair, we’d brought them with us in the first place and I figured the people renting out the house we stayed in might be mad if we left them behind. I managed to buy my children 0 souvenirs from our super fun family vacation week. Zilch. Nada. I DID want to buy them a couple of I GOT HIGH IN BRECKENRIDGE t-shirts that we kept seeing everywhere (it’s nearly 10,000 feet, you know), but for SOME reason Otto kept vetoing that and giving me a funny look whenever I said it. I can’t imagine why.

Weeks before we left, my parents suggested to us that we look into getting some altitude sickness medication to bring with us. Apparently there’s something available by prescription, and I agreed that that was a good idea, meanwhile thinking to myself, “Medication? Does it bring you closer to sea level? How does that even work??” Also I then got distracted by all of the work I needed to finish before we left and the fact that (stewards of awesome timing that we are) we ended up purchasing Monkey some new bedroom furniture just days before we departed and that meant an evening spent assembling and moving things and selling his old bed and then the countless bewildering discussions between my youngest and me where he insisted that he loved his new furniture and wasn’t bothered by the change at all, but could I please just get him exactly the same bedding (y’know, the bedding that is only available in twin size) OR allow him to continue using the current twin sheets/blankets on his new full bed. Because that’s logical. (Autism! Motto: Progress ain’t linear, parents.) I got busy, is the point, and we never got a prescription, but I was sure that was no big deal.

Spoiler: We all got sick. (more…)

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I think he might be a cat

I keep trying to figure out how to tell you all of the cool stuff about our trip in some sort of logical way (i.e., in an order that makes sense, and also in such a way as to not sound like a privileged asshole, because HEY fun family vacation my dad paid for, that’s some serious good fortune right there), and I still haven’t figured it out. To at least begin, I figured it might be best to start to start at the end.

Actually, first let’s go to BEFORE we left, then we’ll talk about what happened when we got back.

Back when we decided to adopt Duncan, part of the impetus came from this incessant anthropomorphizing I engage in, which led me to believe that Licorice really “needed” a “sibling.” (Both of these words in quotes to acknowledge that I’m ridiculous. I KNOW. Shut up.) Anyway, I’m mostly home, but EVERY NOW AND THEN we spent a whole day out of the house or… we go on vacation. Wouldn’t it be nice for Licorice to have another dog with her for those rare occasions? Like, say, when we go to Colorado for 10 days and leave her at the kennel? Surely it would. One dog alone at the kennel might assume she’s been abandoned and be stressed out in unfamiliar surroundings, while TWO dogs at the kennel would cost an entire mortgage payment be comforted by one another and be less stressed. Surely. Right? (more…)

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We are windburned and jetlagged and happy

I promise I will actually write about our vacation… ummm… sometime. I will. Once I’m all caught up on the real work I have to do from being away for all that time. (Real Job Benefit: Having honest-to-goodness vacation time. Real Job Drawback: Having a giant pile of work waiting for you when you return from that work-free time.) We did all sorts of fun things in Colorado, and my life flashed before my eyes as I careened down a mountain, even. (Best part: Not dying!)

While you’re waiting, the good news is that after Breckenridge we hopped over to Denver to visit Kira, and ten people in a house together—twelve, if you count her folks, who live in an attached apartment—with a dog and a cat and a pen full of baby chickens is… kind of a lot. In the best possible way, you understand, but it’s also just quite noisy. I was a little worried Otto wouldn’t recover, but he seems to have. Anyway, you can read more about that part of the trip at Alpha Mom, while I go do worky stuff and apply aloe to this super-sexy farmer burn I have going on.

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Please send oxygen

Greetings from the beautiful Rocky Mountains, where my family is gasping for breath, as one does on vacation in a place where there is a shortage of air. I was not informed that we’d be spending the first few days of our vacation with the equivalent of terrible hangovers, or I certainly would’ve had a lot more to drink so at least it would’ve felt productive having such an intense headache.

Anyway, we’re having our every-two-years-ly giant family gathering, and aside from the whole not being able to breathe thing, we’re having a grand time. You can read more about our adventures thus far over at Alpha Mom, and you don’t even have to climb to 9,600 feet to do it. (I mean, unless you want to, in which case, knock yourself out.)

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Go ahead, shimmy down the stairs

The first rule of the Internet is: You don’t talk about the Internet.

Wait. That’s something else. Whoops!

No, the first rule of the Internet is: You don’t announce when you’re going out of town, because surely someone in your Facebook feed whom you haven’t seen in person since 1986 or some random blog reader who suspects you have really awesome socks will break into your house while you’re gone, so pretend you’re not traveling. (Socks? That seems improbable. As does some random robbing us, which is sort of the point.)

Anyhoo. In the past I’ve always been sort of vague about trips because I’m paranoid and whatever, but no more! HEY INTERNET, we’re going on a family trip. C’mon over and try to break into our house, if you like. You’ll recognize it because it’s the one with a dozen PROTECTED BY OFFICIAL-SOUNDING ALARM SYSTEM COMPANY signs all over it, now. This is because 1) we recently has the Official-Sounding Alarm System Company spend a fun-filled day here drilling holes into pretty much everything and 2) I’m pretty fond of my socks and don’t want them stolen.

The dogs are at the Puppy Spa (why yes, we did opt for the “daily nature walk” for Licorice—only Licorice, as a “daily nature carry” was not offered for Duncan—and afternoon Frosty Paws treats for both dogs) and a friend has been enlisted to water the vegetables if it doesn’t rain and I am pretty sure that if anyone so much as breathes sideways on the exterior of the house, it will blare sirens and call the police and maybe even spontaneously combust. (more…)

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Life! And other stuff!

Remember when I used to write here all the time? No? Huh. Me neither. But I heard a rumor that it used to be so. You know, back before life chewed me up and spit me out as a humorless husk of crankiness.

[HA! Just kidding. I'm TOTALLY CHEERFUL! I mean, most of the time. Some of the time. Occasionally. Look, I'm working on it. (No, really, I'm literally working on it. Like, old-school literally, not the new-fangled literally that makes linguists weep.)]

Anyway. Stuff has been happening, I just haven’t had the time to sit down and write about it because of reasons. (Those reasons include—but are not limited to—children, ice cream, pollen, chocolate, the return of Mad Men, work, trying to exercise regularly even though we all know I hate exercising, illness, laundry, fantasizing with my husband about all the things we’ll do once the kids have finally gone to jail moved out, school meetings, and shopping for groceries.) (So not kidding about the groceries thing. Seven gallons of milk a week. SEVEN GALLONS. I need a second fridge. Also a nap.)

Just how thrilling has it been? Let me count the ways! (more…)

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Almost like a horror movie

Last night Otto and I were lying in bed after a very long day. Usually that’s when we have our best conversations, you know—side by side in the dark, chatting about nothing and everything just before we drift off for the night. But on those long, hard days, we just kind of sink into the silence and both try to pretend sleep is coming.

“Well,” I said, finally, desperate to find a bright spot before the inevitable next few hours of insomnia, “at least spring is coming! Listen to all of those peepers!”* It was true, the frog symphony outside was impressive, given how chilly it’s been. If I closed my eyes and emptied my head, it sounded like it was almost summer. “It’s weird there’s so many, already,” I continued, “when it’s been so cold.”

“Yeah,” agreed Otto. My conversational opening had been scintillating, clearly.

We continued listening, and then… it stopped. I don’t mean it trailed off, I mean one minute there was PEEPpeepPEEPPEEPpeepPEEP and the next minute: dead silence.

“What happened?” I said, my voice dropping to a whisper without conscious intention. “Why’d they stop? Why did they ALL stop? That’s weird, right?”

Poor Otto, he just wanted to sleep and he had no idea he’d married a neurotic frog detective.

“Maybe there’s a BEAR!” I said. “Do bears eat frogs? Are frogs afraid of bears??”

“Maybe there’s a feral neighborhood cat,” Otto answered, with a sigh. That made more sense, I guess. Still, that transition from cacophony to silence was unnerving. Then again, I pretty much find everything unnerving these days. “One time,” Otto murmured, rolling over, “we were home… and there was a BEAR!”

That made me laugh. And one by one, the peepers started up again.

*If you’re a city slicker or otherwise confused by “peepers”, they sound like this.

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Gravity sucks

I’m having one of those “Oh, we are getting older and saggier and falling apart” sorts of weeks. To wit: I finally got my hair cut! It looks great! But I’m astounded anew by how gray it is. (Does that seem weird? I didn’t so much get my hair trimmed as I had it… de-bushed. Thinned/textured/layered, so that after the cut it was the same length as before but there was half as much of it. And for some reason the gray seems more prominent now. Because OLD.

Fortunately I am saved from feeling completely decrepit by the fact that Otto just got a new pair of glasses, and for the first time he’s gotten progressive lenses. His new frames are adorable—he’s always adorable, so that wasn’t hard—but he’s still getting used to to the lenses, so he spends a lot of time adjusting his head this way and that, and somehow watching him do that (okay, fine, laughing at him while he does that) is helping me to feel less old. Because at least I don’t have confusing glasses.

If I were smoother, now there would be a great segue here to encourage you to check out this this round-up of healthy dessert recipes I did for Alpha Mom, but all I can say is that there used to be a time when I could just eat an entire box of cookies and not gain an ounce, and that time… is long past. So now I have to be a little more judicious with my choices (without giving up dessert).

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Happy accidents and small heart attacks

When I last left you, I was talking about furniture and how my dogs are disgusting. This is perfect, because today I am happy to report that we have furniture and my dogs are slightly less disgusting but still super-stressful, because I am never happy unless something I love causes me anguish. HAHAHA.

Anyway! The new furniture was delivered on Monday, and the first piece off the truck looked wrong. After checking over the paperwork and discussing it with the (very nice) delivery guy, it was determined that yes, in fact, we had ordered a love seat with a center console (you know, a compartment for remote controls and built-in cup holders, because we are nothing if not lazy) but they had shipped us a regular love seat, instead. We’d waited all this time and they sent us the wrong thing! Such first-world problem-having! No matter, they said to keep the wrong piece until they could get us the right one. So sweet of them. And then… once all the pieces were in place (it’s a sectional setup, composed of a couch, corner unit, and love seat) it became clear that if the love seat was any bigger it would be Too Much. Our family room isn’t that large, the new furniture is very… floofy (totally a real thing). So! Yay for the wrong thing that turned out to be right!

Also there has been no stealth-puking from the pups lately (as far as we know…), but a couple of days ago Duncan became decidedly wobbly. This was concerning. I discovered he had an ear infection and began treating that, but yesterday morning he was having so many tremors and so much trouble standing that I was sure he was having a prolonged seizure. We knew Duncan was sickly when we adopted him but I AM NOT READY YET, let’s just say that. Fortunately the vet suggested he may just be really struggling with his arthritis, and gave us some anti-inflammatories to try, and today Duncan is 1000% better. Phew. MAH BAYBEE.

So! Life continues to never be dull. While I was away dealing with all of that and working and such, I also took to Alpha Mom and wrote my most controversial blog post yet. (Hint: It’s about beets. People have strong feelings about beets.) And then after I finished eating my beets (mmmm… beets), I wished I could save my teens from friendship woes with some sort of Borg mind-meld. Still working on figuring that one out.

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