DRAFT TODAY, POST TOMORROW: Some posts may be in draft status until I (aka procrastinator extraordinaire) get around to posting them.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Am I dressed to go to Nigeria?

Last night, as I was arriving home late, I saw my neighbors driving out of their driveway; they pulled up behind me as I was getting out of my car.  She told me that they were having a graduation party for their daughter.  It sounded like she was just giving me a noise warning at first.  I mentioned that we would be going to Mick's niece's birthday party in Scottsdale, and she started talking me into coming home early enough to come to their party for Nigerian food, drinks and dancing.

So today, after my agility fun run, we ran some errands.  He got his hair cut and then headed to Desert Ridge.  We went to the BBQ store so he could see if they had a rack he wants for his smoker.  Then we went to Kohl's; he found some shorts and shirts.  I got a size 6 (!) dress and capri pants and a couple of size small (!) blouses for work.  I tried on about 15 pairs of pants but couldn't find a good fit--I could put on size 4 (!) but they didn't fit well, and the size 6 didn't fit well either.  I also tried the size 4 dress but it was too small; the size 6 fits well but needs a little tuck in the middle.  Seamstress, oh, seamstress, wherefore art thou?

Sports Authority was having a grand opening, although there is another location about a mile or two east.  I tried on about 8 or 10 sports bras.  What a buzzkill.  Everything fit terribly.  I almost bought one, just to have one, but when I told him that it was just to get by, he said that I shouldn't settle.  And he's right--I shouldn't settle!  So I left empty handed.

We went to Pump it up! for the party.  The kids went through two rooms of inflated play spaces while young staff members played with (and policed) them.  Then the kids and adults were herded into the party room, where the birthday girl had a big throne chair to sit on and everyone had pizza and cake.  I had a Larabar and water.

That was pretty tiring, so we went home and I rested a little before we changed clothes and went next door to the party.  I looked up Nigerian food online to see how much concern I should have about eating dinner, and there seemed to be a lot of dishes I could eat, but there is still some use of flour and plantains, which I assume will affect me like bananas.

We arrived to find a huge spread of food.  I explained my allergy issues and she went around the island, covered in pans of food, and explained what everything was.  I got a plate of food, and realized that she really didn't understand some of what I said, while she got other parts.  Starting with the safe food, there was stewed bone-in chicken, stewed beef, rice that looked almost like Mexican rice, and a flour paste that they put in foil shaped like a potato and then eat with their hands with their stews.  There was a spinach dish that had something in it that I couldn't figure out, so I didn't eat the rest.  There was another stew that she explained partially as something you can't get here; when I tasted it, the texture was like fine scrambled eggs, so I spit it out.  I'm not sure I couldn't have it, but I didn't eat it.  I tried some of the fish, which whole fish chopped into large chunks and stewed; it was a little difficult to eat as I had to pick through the bones to get the fish, but it tasted good.  There was also some beef and bananas that she told me was okay (but it's not), and something like pate with an egg in it that she told me was not okay, and a beef filling in a fried flour triangle which I could not have, but was Mick's favorite.  The food I ate was very good, and she was very generous, sending us home with large plates of leftovers.

Everyone was dressed up--all the guys wearing slacks and the ladies in dresses.  There was a DJ inside, and ping pong outside.  We danced a little, drank a little, and met interesting people.  I'm glad they invited us to taste Nigeria.

Agility Fun Run

I took Cassi and Teka to an indoor fun run.  I ran them around outside a little first, which made me hot and sweaty, so it seemed hot inside too, although it was a little cooler than outside.

We ran the standard course first.  It started with jumps, one on my right, then to my left, and then again to the left.  I called wrap a little late for Cassi's giant stride, but then we headed the other way for a jump and another in a row, but out to the left, so I had to turn my shoulders as I ran straight to the A-frame.  That led to the tunnel, after which I used kind of a false front cross to go out to the next jump and around to the teeter, which led to the weaves.  I tried sending Teka over the next jump (the starting jump) and a wrap, into the tunnel, but had to cross over to the tunnel side to keep her off the dog walk, while Cassi was fine with me being in front of or to the left of the dog walk.  Coming out of the tunnel, we got a tiny break on the (short) table, then I used "with me, out" for the perpendicular jump, around to the next jump, to the dog walk. Coming off the dog walk was a weird angle to the tunnel entrance--not the entrance right next to it but the other end.  Coming out of the tunnel, she went over the second jump, the fourth jump, wrap (call early!) and end on the third jump.  We did very well but I have to (always!) work on early calls (earlier for Cassi than Teka) without calling her off the current jump, and watching my shoulders.

Next, we had a jumpers course.  It started with a chute to the weaves, a u-turn to a jump, wrap to a broad jump, right turn to a jump*, right turn again (front cross for me), u-turn to a jump**, right turn to a jump (front cross for me), out to a jump, back over ** jump, into a tunnel.  When she was coming out of the tunnel, I needed to cross so she was on my left, so that as she went over the *jump, she would wrap back to the same tunnel (without going into the near entrance).  I did it the first time the wrong way and Cassi's momentum was sending her straight out instead of wrapping, so she backjumped.  Coming out of the tunnel this time, we went over the ** jump to a triple jump that was a little left-set so I had to rear cross as she went over the triple to the next jump that was right set.  This led to a uturn into the weaves.  Cassi's jump stride is so big that she had no issue with the entry, but I had to pull Teka around a little by front crossing, putting me on the left side of the weaves, where I was on the right for Cassi.  Coming out of the weaves, the first jump we had was there but NOT to be taken, so I front crossed Teka and gave her an out-tunnel.

We were running at trial height, 24 inches for her and 16 inches for Teka.  The 20 inch dogs were running opposite us, so I couldn't have run her at 20.  The jumpers course was Cassi's third run, and I could tell she was slowing down, so for the last run, I was going to run her at 16 instead.  However, she went through the chute slowly and then entered the weaves, but came out and walked next to them.  So I gave her a break and pulled her off the course.  I think that she may not be able to run the third run at trials now.  Unfortunately, in many cases, we don't know what order the runs will be in until after entering, so it's hard to determine which 2 of the 3 to enter her, since she'll typically do better earlier in the day.

Teka did pretty well until later, too.  I think she may have become stressed out.  Another handler fell and injured herself, and when someone else was putting the small dog into it's kennel, it bit her pretty bad.  All of this drama was almost right in front of Teka's kennel.  So her last run wasn't great, but I thought she was still trying to work with me, she just seemed a little clingy.  I'd like to enter her in a trial there, and the lady in charge of entries told me that she thinks they are going to fill up before the deadline, but I want to wait until after this coming outdoor trial to determine if I will enter Teka.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Season's 52 revisited

My friend, B, was off work today, so we met for lunch.  She chose Season's 52 at the Biltmore.  When I arrived, she had a menu, and I got a gluten-free menu and a dairy-free menu from the hostess.  We were a little excited when she said they had green ice tea until we realized that they don't brew it, they have bottles.  And the bottles are either "naturally sweetened" or sweetened with Stevia; there was no unsweetened option, so we got regular black ice tea.

I decided on the steelhead trout special, which the waitress said was similar to salmon.  She had them substitute broccoli for the edamame in the rice, which also had little tomatoes.  I thought I should have more veggies, so I ordered a salad to start.  She came back with oil and vinegar since all of the dressings are off limits to me, but she didn't know when I ordered.  I'm certain I had a salad last time I was here.  *sigh*  I thought the fish with rice was very good, the salad was okay.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Coyotes and Roller Derby girls

We were going to a Coyotes game, so I ate before we headed out.  It's Bike Week or whatever it's called, so there were a lot of bikes in front of the arena.  When we got in, my husband went to get pizza and beer.  When he got back, he said there were roller derby girls skating around talking to people and a couple at a table, so I set off to find one.  I found the table and talked to the girls there.  The event they are promoting is on a date that I can't go, but I would love to go to a roller derby event some time.

Z's Greek, round 2

Our office is having lunch from Z's Greek today, so I received an email a few days ago with the menu and a deadline for an order.  I thought I knew what I could have, but I'm learning, so I called.  The very helpful man I talked to told me that I could (only) have the Greek salad with chicken, no pita, no feta, no dressing.  I could not have anything with rice or potatoes as they have dairy.  Ah-ha!  That explains why I didn't feel well.

Today, I had the salad, with some dressing I keep in the office refrigerator.  Not bad, but I'm not sure about the seasoning on the chicken either.  So I would consider this an *AVOID* restaurant.

Of course, there was cake and ice cream for the birthday celebration.  I knew I would feel deprived, so I brought some Enjoy Life Gingerbread Spice Cookies and some So Delicious Chocolate coconut milk ice cream.  The cookies are cakelike, so I thought that would be a good substitution.  I ate more of the ice cream than I planned.  Several people asked about the cookies and ice cream, and two ladies asked to try the cookies.  One has a diabetic husband, and she thought it was very good; the other eats a lot of artificial sweeteners (Weight Watchers ice cream treats for example), and she did not really like the cookie.

After I got back to my desk, I sent out an email with the cookie and ice cream information to everyone since I wasn't sure who was interested.  One person replied to me that she was impressed with how I'm sticking to my diet.  It's not a diet, people.  One replied to everyone saying that he found dinner for me, with a picture of a box.  Are you kidding me?  I'm sure he thought he was being funny, but I did not find it funny.  I don't think anyone else did either.  There was only one response, to me only, from a lady in the office who thought it was mean.  I was really upset about it--yes, I have a thin skin, this is nothing new--and someone else thought it was no big deal so I just kept it to myself after that.  But I really think that someone who considers himself to be a nice guy should not be such a dick.

On the other hand, the receptionist said that she wants to make sure we have those items for events so that I don't have to provide it myself.  I thought that was very generous but it seems unnecessary to me.  I mean, I'm the only one eating it, and it's not that often, so I'm going to take it home, so I might as well buy it, right?  I've made my point but we'll see what happens next time.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It's NOT a diet.

I was being social with some professionals and there was "happy hour" food and drinks.  I had a half a glass of wine.  A lady said to "You're being so good" as she was eating some fried thing.  Of course, I don't really say anything, just a quick, quiet, "I don't think I can't eat any of that."  But in my head, I thought, why does everyone think that I have a choice?  I mean, I know I always have a choice, but really, I don't have a choice!  It's just not worth it to feel so terrible for so long.  Maybe if I wasn't so busy, didn't have so much to do, knew that it would not be four days...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I needed to take my car in for maintenance, so my friend, K, picked me up for lunch.  We decided to go to Macayo's.  I asked if they had a gluten-free menu or allergen menu, and was excited to find out that they do have a gluten-free menu.  The hostess also brought me a weird allergen sheet of paper that listed all the allergens, but not what they are in, except for under eggs, they listed chili relleno.  No shit, sherlock.  But you don't have anything you'd like to list under, let's say, dairy?

At our request, the waitress checked whether the chips have a designated fryer and they don't--when they are busy, they use the chip fryers for other food.  They make all their margaritas with sweet and sour, so I had ice tea.  (It is a workday, so maybe I wouldn't have had one anyway, but I had to ask!)

I decided that the salmon tacos or salmon meal would be my best option, so I asked about the seasoning on the salmon, if she could check if there is soy or yeast maybe.  She came back and says (I shit you not, these are her exact words) "you can't have the seasoning; it has wheat in it."  WTF?  W! T! F!  It's on the gluten-free menu!  Why does it have wheat in it?  Most people wouldn't ask because they aren't worried about anything but the gluten/wheat.  I'm just flabbergasted.  I got it without seasoning, a side of salsa, and it was fine.  But seriously, wtf.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Eating gluten-free. Um, allergy-free. Allergen-free?

I needed to get out of the office, and dry cleaner was back on my errand list, so I went to Babbo to sit at the counter and have lunch.  My waiter "knows" me, so he confirmed no bread, and once I decided on the chicken blackboard lunch with the pesto primavera, he confirmed no pesto, no cheese, mista salad, no cheese.  I love it--great service and healthy, filling food.

I noticed a lady sit a couple seats down and request no bread.  She ordered the portabella blackboard lunch with another topping, and the mista salad.  Then I noticed that she was taking all the cheese off the salad.  I asked if she was gluten-free and she said yes, and vegan.  (Obviously not for the "oh, the animals" reason since she's not reducing the amount of cheese being used, right?)  She said she didn't realize that she could ask for the salad with no cheese until she saw me do it.  Wow, I ask all kinds of craziness, don't I?  I introduced myself and talked to her briefly and, before I left, we exchanged contact information.  I may have made a new lunch friend.

I was on my own for dinner so I cooked a piece of ono that I had thawed, and made a quick tomatillo sauce for it.  My basic recipe: 2 or 3 tomatillos, a tomato, some cilantro, some cumin, salt and pepper, and fresh lime juice, about half a juicy lime all go into a food processor until well blended.  I have also made this with tomatillos, salsa, and cilantro and think that an avocado can be added.

My online friend (friend of my friend T) gave me some new information for eating out.  She had edamame (which I can't eat anyway) at Arcadia Tavern and now she's feeling sick.  Apparently, they warm the edamame in the pasta water.  She found out when she found a noodle in the bottom of the bowl.  Someone else mentioned that California Pizza Kitchen boils the broccoli in the pasta water.

I bought several pints of coconut milk ice cream the other day at Whole Foods.  I'm having trouble controlling myself so I might have to stop buying it.  But I can't wait to try the new Almond Milk ice cream.

Born To Run

I heard that Born to Run is a really good book about barefoot running.  After listening to it, I agree that it's a very good book, but I would say it is more about running, and a little about barefoot running.  It also was about how modern civilization (and marketing) has changed how we run and how the last running tribes are becoming extinct.  At times, I wondered where the author was going with his history of some particular runner, but it all came back in eventually.

He talked a bit about the modern nutrition of runners versus what the running people eat and drink.  Some of the characters were interesting and kept me engaged in the book.  I would recommend this book.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Barbecue and Beer

We were going to be in Tempe getting our taxes done, so we asked some friends if they wanted to get together.  One suggested the barbecue festival in Chandler so we met there.  Although it is billed as a family event, it is so NOT a family event.  There are kids' areas, but they are near the stages, and the bands are not kid appropriate.  In addition, the crowd was the type that I would have felt totally comfortable wearing my Fuck My Life tank top.  By the way, the lettering on that tank top is made of something toxic, I'm pretty sure.  As many times as I've washed it (I wear it for pajamas), it still stinks.

I was able to drink wine there but I did confirm with the whiskey booth that whiskey and bourbon are made of rye, so they are off my can-do list.  No free shots for me!  I had some grilled corn, without the butter (which makes it a little harder to get the salt and pepper to stick); I thought it was good and look forward to having some at home.

Mick was on a mission to check out all the spices and barbecue sauces while we were there.  We bought some spices, which appear safe for me, as well as some sauce that appears to not be safe for me.  We ate at a Texas barbecue truck that had a huge smoker going.  I got the sampler so there wouldn't be any sides (that I couldn't eat); I ended up with some pulled pork, brisket, and a rib.  I talked to the lady and she assured me her sauce was safe--and it seems to be.

I also got some kettle corn to share--and to take home!

When we left there, we went to a pub nearby.  Some of our friends left, and then I took the drunks to San Tan Brewery to get some food--in me and in them.  I checked out the menu and thought the chonchita pork pibil would probably work.  As I explained my issues to the waitress, my husband mentioned the egg allergy.  I couldn't imagine that they would have egg in the pork pibil because it sounds so aweseme, but if it wasn't safe for another reason, that could be important.

The manager came over to let me know that they didn't have anything safe for me on their menu because there are eggs in the pork pibil.  WTF!  Why?!  Then he said that if I let them know early in the day that I'll be coming in, they would be able to prep something for me.  That's a great offer, but I don't think I have ever been there with pre-planning.  So I had a Trio bar and water before we headed home with my kettle corn.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Shrimp and "ice cream"

I saw on Twitter that Whole Foods was going to have shrimp on sale today only, so I made plans to go at lunch.  I picked up a half pound, checked out the barbecue sauce (decided not to get it since I can make it, but am I really going to have time to make it?), and hit the frozen section to find coconut milk ice cream.  They had so many flavors, so I limited myself to an obnoxiously high number.  I checked out several other things that I didn't buy, except for the habanero marmalade I haven't seen anywhere else.

I also checked out the cilantro dip, and wrote down the ingredients so I can play with it at home to see if I can make it since I have so much cilantro.  (Is that wrong?)  Then I went through the prepared food and got some pineapple curry rice and portabello mushroom "pizzas" that did not have cheese.  Good lunch ideas but I'm not sure I loved either one.

When I got home, I was so exhausted from working late and driving home, but I had to make the shrimp since they couldn't be refrozen.  I cleaned them and made a recipe from my Paleo gluten-free cookbook.  Mick had something else but I gave him a little and he thought it was okay.  I thought it would be really good with (rice) pasta.  Of course, parmesan cheese would make it awesometastic, but that's not for me.  It was a lot of work so I'm not sure if I'll do it again, or maybe I'll cheat and use frozen deveined (those are always cooked, right?) shrimp and try it again.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

MS News

I never got a call for my monthly drug trial visit and blood work, even though I called and left a message.  This new care coordinator is terrible.  I got my notice for the monthly survey and completed it.  I'm doing my part; I wonder if I should contact my doctor to let him know about the terrible cc.

I read a LOT of MS news but don't always remember to pass it on.  Here's some super-interesting tidbits:
  • Drug companies suck balls.  The FDA issued warning letters to Teva (Copaxone, one of the most popular drugs because the injection is subcutaneous)and Biogen (Avonex, one of the most popular interferon drugs because the injection into the muscle is "only" weekly) for making false claims about their drugs.  I took Avonex for several years and as far as I can tell, it didn't do shit for me, but it made me ill and gave me semi-permanent scarring on my legs.  The FDA letter said their claims are " misleading because they overstate the efficacy of Avonex, omit material information, and present unsubstantiated superiority claims for the drug. " For the amount of money we spend on MS drugs, it's mind-numbing to consider the implications if the efficacy claims are overstated--efficacy of about 30% barely seemed worth it to start with.  If the efficacy is even lower AND we could get our "trusted" doctors to stop pressuring us to take this crap, maybe the financial cost of MS could decrease and we could put the money to something more worthwhile, maybe something like a cure instead of a poison.
  • A lifestyle study showed that moderate consumption of alcohol, wine, coffee, and fish on a regular basis is good for us with RRMS.   Patients with relapsing onset Multiple Sclerosis (MS) who consumed alcohol, wine, coffee and fish on a regular basis took four to seven years longer to reach the point where they needed a walking aid than people who never consumed them. However the study, published in the April issue of the European Journal of Neurology, did not observe the same patterns in patients with progressive onset MS. Since alcohol, wine (I'm not sure why these are separated), coffee, and fish oils are thought to improve blood flow, some feel this may be another link to the vascular theory behind CCSVI.  I think it is also interesting that there is a difference between RRMS and PPMS/SPMS as there is a theory these are actually different but related diseases.
  • MS Awareness week was last week.  I'm going to buy a Tshirt but it's customizable and I can't decide what to put on the back.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Babbo. Of course.

I had a class at the Pointe Hilton at Squaw Peak.  I looked online for restaurants in the area that I might want to try for lunch, but I found Babbo before running across anything better.  So that's where I ended up.  I can't believe that has become my go-to place, despite the fact that I can't eat the Friday special that used to be my favorite--it has wheat in the sausage.  Who-da thunk it?

The class was excellent, very useful; I'm so glad I went to that one.  I need to practice some of the tips before I forget.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Movie night. Or movie day. Wait. Movie weekend.

Over the course of this weekend, we saw Moneyball, Transformers (whichever one is most recent)Drive, and Meloncholia.  That's not the order we saw them in but the order I liked them in.  See Moneyball, maybe Transformers.  Stop there!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patty's Day

We went to field training with the Vizsla club and, while it lasted most of the day, we were done earlier than usual.  Both Cassi and Teka were able to run; Teka ran by herself.

Once we were done, we headed home to take showers and get ready to party.  As usual, I tried on a half a dozen things before I was ready to go.  We headed to our friends' house for a St. Patrick's Day party.

My friend, K, was awesome about providing safe food and drink for me while providing not-safe food and drink for everyone else.  Beer for everyone; (strong!) bahama mamas for me.  There was corned beef, of course, but she made a special recipe soda bread for me.  The best part is that everyone who tried it liked it as much or more than the other soda bread!  And I got to take some home with me.  A parting gift!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Random thoughts

I had meetings during my lunch time so I went to lunch pretty late.  I ate a relatively big, late breakfast of leftover chicken and rice with mole sauce, so I thought I would be okay, but I was a little shaky by the time I could leave for lunch.  I needed to run some errands so I was going to have a can of soup, but my hunger took over and I went to Babbo for roast chicken and veggies.  It's the pesto primavera, but I get it without pesto or cheese, and the mista salad without cheese or croutons.  I've decided the worst part about not eating bread is not giving up sandwiches, but having no yummy soft bread for pushing food onto the fork.  But giving up sandwiches is a close second third.  Cinnamon sugar toast is a close second.

While I was sitting at the bar, eating my lunch, I watched the program on ESPN2, something like number cruncher.  A couple of people stand in front of a screen and discuss something (there's no sound and I wasn't paying attention to the captions) and then drag and drop their numbers or icons into different areas on the screen.  You would think this was really hard!  They (especially the guys) looked like they were having seizures, they had to retry so many times.  Don't these people have computers and phones?  If you're getting paid to do it, maybe you could practice a little off camera.

I see some turnover at the dry cleaner, but some of the girls are there for a while.  As one of them was helping me today, she commented on my weight loss.  As we were talking, she said she is trying to gain weight--she is about 5'3" and 125 pounds but wants to weigh what I weigh--close to 145!  She has been told she's too skinny; I think she should disregard.  She'll gain it as she gets older anyway!

Last night, a lady in my agility class told me that I am too skinny.  When I was talking to my sister, C, the other night, she reminded me that I will have to get used to this again.  I was very, very thin growing up, and didn't reach a "normal" weight until I was in my 20s.  After my car accident, I gained too much weight.  I lost it about ten years ago and was at a great weight again, probably about where I am now.  And then MS and food allergies took me back up the scale.  I think I'm actually at a pretty healthy weight right now.  I could lose some fat and gain some muscle but the weight is fine.  So when the lady said I was too skinny, I admitted that I lost a lot of weight, and then added that I feel so much better, and that I used to be too fat.  She didn't like that at all.  Have we all forgotten what normal looks like?  I WAS too fat and I am NOT too skinny.  Why can't people just say something nice and shut up?

I actually DON'T feel better today.  I'm uncertain if it was yesterday's lunch or last night's dinner, which I had more of this morning.  Grrr.

I got home late and ate leftover pasta while Mick had pizza rolls.  He mentioned that there were thousands of aphids on my lettuce in my garden and that I should be taking care of my garden at least once a week.  Since I AM doing weekly gardening, he said twice a week.  So I made more organic bug spray and went out, with him right behind.  There are more caterpillars on my lettuce, and there were green aphids on my turnip leaves. I sprayed everything but skipped the eggplant since they look fine and there was a ladybug hanging out.  I cut off some cilantro and checked out the broccoli.  Anyway, he thought I was mad but I explained again that I'm not feeling well and I was really looking forward to coming home and doing absolutely nothing.  I accidentally popped my left leg after I ate dinner and, for the first time I can remember, it hurt, like a tingly feeling down my leg almost to the foot.

Once he started playing his hockey video game, I cleaned the kitchen, put the cut cilantro in a vase, and grabbed my dessert and headed to the other room to vegetate.  My computer would not connect to the internet.  I know this happens and what to do but I totally spaced out and freaked out.  I have been dealing with technology issues for about 3 weeks at work and I'm just beat down.  Today's mess was a complete shut down of our system, including the phones while I was supposed to have a phone meeting (fortunately not with a client), and I am still dealing with crazy workarounds for my email.  So I'm sitting at home looking at this mess and crying and my husband is overreacting to my overreacting.  Essentially anytime I am freaking out  crying and he doesn't get it, he starts yelling about who is dying like that's the only reason I am allowed to lose it.  Mmm, Kahlua.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Old Pueblo

After bowling (not terribly--my average was over 100), we went to the Litchfield Park Culinary and Art Festival.  It was more art than culinary.  When we found the food area, it was like fair food so I thought I wouldn't be able to eat.  My husband got annoyed with me because, when someone said they thought I might be able to eat gyros, I said I didn't think so, so he thought I was being negative.  I thought I was being honest, not hangry at all.  On the other side, there was a place with Greek food and I thought I might be able to have the chicken plate, but everyone had decided to move on.

We went to a restaurant, Old Pueblo, and we sat at a table on the large patio area.  I had sangria (questionable margaritas) and corn tortillas with my own bowl of salsa, followed by tacos, rice and beans.  I ate as much as I could--too much--it was so good.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Spring Training

My husband was going with some coworkers to a Spring Training game and I was invited, so I went to work for a few hours, ate my leftovers for lunch, changed clothes in the bathroom, and then met them at the ballpark after stopping at CVS for water, sunscreen (Aveno), and chapstick (Burt's Bees). It was sunny and a great day to hang out and barely watch a baseball game.  My friend K brought coconut rum for the lemonade I bought to go with my kettle corn.  The guys drank some beers and the kids and K rolled down the hill after the grass cleared out at the end.   It took forever to get out but it was nice to start the weekend early.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Slice of Sicily

My friend, B, is off this week during spring break so we met for lunch at Slice of Sicily.  We know Donna, the owner, and she makes accomodation for me and my special diet.  Everyone I go with gets the pizza specials, but I get one of the chicken dinners.  She brings me an extra large salad, and then I get the chicken (something like cacciatore) with no flour and no cheese, and she boxes the spaghetti and garlic bread for B to take home.  I forgot to tell her no cheese today, so we scraped it off, but it was my fault, not hers.  As always, it was very good.  She told me today that if I bring gluten-free pasta in an unopened package, her chef will cook it for me in a separate pan.  It seems like I get a lot of food, but it would be fantastic to add pasta and then be able to take some leftovers!  That is just as awesome as service can get right there.

I have to share: B has a teenage son.  His dad was picking him up and was surprised B hadn't gotten the kid ready.  (He's almost an adult, at least in age.)  So dad went to get coffee while the son got ready to go.  Son could not find his shoes, so he looked under the bed.  B came into his room and found him asleep.  Under the bed.  Snoring.  The shoes were in his hamper.

Update: So a couple of times, I've been told that I can just take something off my meal and it won't be a big deal.  After today, I think that is not true.  I felt fine this morning, not so much tonight.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Garden Update

broccoli after flowering
pepper in front, lettuce, carrots in back
swiss chard, turnips, beets, eggplant
cilantro in front, parsley, marigold, celery/broccoli/basil in back
rosemary top left, and squash
bibb lettuce in front, onions, kale (?) gone to seed
red romaine lettuce and radishes
arugula coming back, and tiny seedlings
ladybug on the swiss chard
fig tree
pomegranate tree
walnut tree
today's harvest

Biostack (awesome but discontinued) and other compost bin

ficus with compost
Before the irrigation lines are buried

Sunday Date Night, er, Day

I got up early enough to make pancakes for breakfast.  I misread the amount of oil so I added the rest of the mix I had and some more rice milk, and the pancakes came out great.  Since I'm supposed to be eating more protein at breakfast, I microwaved some cashew butter and spread it between the pancakes and then topped with some maple syrup.  It looked weird but tasted great.

I was unsure that my husband, Mick, was going to go with me to the Gluten-Free Expo, but he did.  We were kind of surprised that no one else wanted to go.  I've never been, so I didn't know what to expect.  It was very small, maybe 10 or 15 vendors, so I talked to most even if I wasn't sure I wanted to.  There was a hair salon giving free samples of shampoo and conditioner, and there was a couple of skin care product tables.

Innocent Indulgence was giving small samples of some of their raw desserts.  I had a cocao nib square which was interesting, kind of like a chocolate chip cookie, but not.

Sprouts had baskets of freebies.  Many (MANY) I could not use because they had soy, including the Larabars (they were of the chocolate varieties, not the ones I typically get).  But I got some Food Should Taste Good sweet potato chips and a "shake and go smoothie" mix in Vanilla Almondilla and Chocolat.

Next we visited the table for Wei of Chocolate.  Oh, yeah, that is for me!  She asked us to pick a picture of a flower we were drawn to and I chose a yellow flower which led to the Chai chocolate, and he picked a pink orchid which meant spicy and led to the chili infused chocolate.  We tried a couple samples each and they were awesome.  It seems expensive but I have to think about whether it is worth it.

I briefly stopped at a bakery table but moved on as soon as I confirmed that was not going to happen, and then passed by the Udi's table since I already know that won't happen!  Mick checked out the Planet Ale table and joined me at the Nourish table, where we were able to speak with the chef for a while.  I bought their new book, Freak at the Table--I can eat almost everything in it!

I went to the Arbonne table and got a sample of a "Digestion plus with prebiotics, probiotics, and enzymes" which the lady said was great to take if you accidentally have gluten or something your body reacts to.  I also got a makeup makeover from the makeup artist, using all Arbonne products.  Mick was skeptical of the benefits of makeup that is gluten-free; I can see the sense in using better products, I'm just not sure I can see spending the money!  I really liked the foundation primer and mineral powder foundation she used, but I don't typically wear foundation.  (maybe I would if I liked it?)

We went to Nourish for lunch, and based on the chef's earlier suggestion (and the fact that I haven't had teriyaki in many months since it "always" has soy), we both had the teriyaki rice bowl, his with chicken and mine with wild salmon.  I also had white ice tea which was very good and he had another Planet Ale gluten-free beer.  I was almost disappointed with the first bite of my rice bowl, since the salmon was on top, and there was no teriyaki flavor that I could discern.  Then I realized the teriyaki was in the brown and wild rice mix underneath, so I mixed it up and ate it.  We both thought it was very good, although he gave me his broccoli and snap peas.

My precious...
When we looked at the menu, I knew I was going to have dessert.  Because I could!  I thought I would order something with chocolate, but when I heard lemon cheesecake--no wheat, dairy, eggs, or soy--I could not resist.  It is made by Innocent Indulgence; it had a nut crust and the lemon cheesecake was creamy and tart.  I really liked it but he thought it was too lemony.  We agreed that the lunch was good, but for $60 (including tip), it seems like a major splurge.  It is nice to see that "safe" food can be tasty enough for people who don't need "safe" food.  Before leaving, I also bought a jar of apricot preserves, mango vinaigrette, and coconut vinegar, all products that they use in the restaurant.

We returned to the Expo to see if we could catch the Innocent Indulgence Raw Food demo.  It was already taking place so we went in and sat in the back.  It had started a lot earlier than we thought, so we were just in time to see the presenter make a green smoothie.  We were given a small piece of paper with 2 recipes and, as the helpers gave out samples, the presenter said that she used the recipe on the right.  I checked the recipe and then tried the sample.  After a couple of "sips" (it was thick), someone asked if there was banana since it wasn't in the recipe.  YES, there was banana.  Are you kidding me?!  You can't go to something designed for allergic people and then give them something, with a recipe, that does not follow the recipe!  I am not denigrating Innocent Indulgence as I think it's a great company, but the presenter did not really seem to know her stuff and made a pretty big mistake.  (Warning: TMI!!!  I had terrible gas the rest of the day.)

She also made a chocolate cherry smoothie, which we thought was more like a dessert, almost like an ice cream substitute.  She used a protein powder which she passed around (a couple people immediately asked about what was in it); it was okay but had stevia, which I usually don't consume.  I would consider making something similar at home using frozen cherries and cacao nibs.

After such an exciting day at the Expo, we went to another Expo--the Home Show at the Cardinals stadium.  We knew there would be a lot that we had seen already, but a few things we would want to look for.  Someone gave us free tickets on the way in so we didn't pay admission.

In one area, there were a few gardening groups, and I stopped to look at the succulents.  I've never seen anything like them.  We also looked at a supplier of organic seeds and transplants.  I was interested in some of the hot peppers but I don't need a whole packet of seeds so I'll have to check out their website.

We talked to a solar heating guy for a while about solar heating for a pool.  It was very interesting and informative and he showed us several photos to give us ideas of where we might be able to put the panels after we get a pool.

I also picked up another shade loving plant for the area by our front door where we couldn't get roses to grow.  Several people were checking it out but they weren't looking for a plant for a shady spot, so I came home with it.  We planted it when we got home, and then worked on the garden.

I made tacos for dinner and they were so tasty, I ate too much.  I also poached some chicken for chicken salad.  Once it cooled, I added chopped celery, apple, kiwi, a tiny bit of cilantro left over from the tacos, a little lettuce from the garden, and some of the mango vinaigrette from Nourish.  (And I have the recipe for it now, too!)  Later, I remembered to add the chopped walnuts.

Chicken salad, pre-walnuts
Chicken Salad

2-3 chicken breasts (I used one package of the 6 pack from Costco or Sam's), cubed and cooked
3/4 diced celery
1 large apple, diced
3 kiwis, chopped
cilantro or herbs to taste
1/2 cup mango vinaigrette
15 medium lettuce leaves, chopped
3/4 cup walnuts

Divide chicken in thirds (about a scant cup each) into mason jars or other lidded containers.  Add 1/4 celery, 1/3 of the apple, 1 kiwi, 1/3 of the lettuce, 1/4 walnuts, 1/3 of the vinaigrette, and herbs to taste.  Add lids and shake.

If you will not be eating the salads quickly, leave dressing in separate container until ready to serve.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Fiesta Cluster AKC Agility Trial

Cassi ran her Excellent A Standard course first.  Coming off the dog walk was a flip into a tunnel, but she saw the teeter in the other direction and took a little detour; fortunately, she did not make it to the teeter so there was no fault.  Later she saw a little crowd and started to go in that direction but I was able to get her back.  On the table, she curled her lip a little and looked at the judge.  The judge almost laughed while she was counting.  My girl is such goofball.  We ran a clean run and ended up under time, so she got her Q!

Teka's first course was Open FAST.  This course was made for her.  She got her send bonus (when I stay on one side of the line and she does the obstacles on the other side); unfortunately, she shut down right afterwards because she thought she messed up by passing the teeter.  But in FAST, you can't mess up except for on the send bonus.  She did some things and skipped others, and ended up 5 points short and over time.  She almost did the frame which would have put her over on the points but I think the time still would have got her.

Next was Cassi's Excellent A Jumpers Course.  I did a 2 jump lead out and managed to get my crosses in where I wanted them, even the rear cross at #19.  We got another clean run and she really seemed to be having fun; Q!

We had some time before our next set of runs.  I think it was too much for Cassi.  By the time she ran Excellent A FAST, she was tired.  She barely trotted onto the course, but we gave it a try.  This was the most ridiculous FAST course I have ever seen.  You essentially have to run into the teeter to direct her to the tunnel, and then run into the A-frame to get her over the last jump of the send bonus.  She had a lot of trouble with the tunnel, so we were doing terribly on time, so we just finished without getting all the points.

Teka's next course was Open Jumpers.  We did the same 2 jump lead out.  She was working with me but missed her weave entry.  Then she managed to run right up to a double jump and I couldn't get her to back up so she knocked the bar.  We finished the course but the second fault kept her from getting a Q.

Her last course was Open Standard.  She started out okay but I lost her pretty quickly.  I had to walk her from the dog walk to flip into the tunnel, but I thought I might be able to get her through it.  Unfortunately, she got stressed out and pooped before she even got to the table.  It really makes me think that I should just give up on Teka.  But my friend A just got her MACH with her dog and she said she almost gave up on him but they work really well as a team now.  I thought about moving Teka to Preferred jump height (lower) so that it would be easier, but my husband doesn't think that will help her attitude (in public) and I'm not sure I can disagree.  I just can't decide what to do with her.

Cassi got first place for both Q's

Friday, March 2, 2012

Never eating again

I realized that I haven't gone for my fasting thyroid labs, so I scheduled an appointment for first thing this morning.  I was a little thrown off when the lab guy said that I owed for labs I had done for Dr. H.  I don't think I had any labs done for Dr. H except the ones that were done at the college clinic, not at Labcorp.  Great, I can add the follow-up to my to do list.

I hadn't eaten, and planned to go to Ground Control.  I went for a vanilla latte with almond milk.  It was very good, but I ended up with a lot of foam at the end so I felt like I wasted it a little.  I followed it up with an orange.

I was invited to lunch at Arcadia Tavern.  I had looked at the menu already and there's a lot I can't have but thought there were a few things that might work.  Three of the five of us had the roasted veggie salad.  I had mine with chicken and no cheese.  It had a raspberry vinaigrette, and someone else got the dressing on the side.  When I saw how creamy it was, I asked the waitress to check the ingredients.  It was safe and the secret seemed to be that they blended it.  It was very tasty and I ate the whole salad.

I had a terribly frustrating day; my computer has been acting wonky for three days now.  I managed to get some things done but everything took longer and I was just not so productive.  I stayed late to try to make up for some of it and had an apple with honey peanut butter.

Yesterday, I wasn't feeling great, again, and last night had the big "D" in the bathroom before going to bed.  I had more this morning and was actually feeling worse, although it comes and goes.  I don't think I ate anything I shouldn't have eaten.  I ate the most gluten-free thing on the menu at Revo yesterday and everything else I ate in the past couple of days, I made or could read the ingredients.  It's enough to make me want to stop eating.  But I guess I have to eat.  (I do have to eat, right?)  After reading Allergic Girl and feeling that I can't eat anything, I wonder if I need to be more concerned about cross contamination.  I noticed that Home Woot was offering Oneida utensils today, so I decided to order them.  My husband, Mick, gave me a little grief for being paranoid.  I'm not sure which is worse--not eating or being paranoid.

For dinner, I made a combination of zucchini, red bell peppers, diced carrots, Sprouts spicy chicken sausage, parsley from my garden, and rotini rice pasta.  I was very pleased with how it turned out.  I gave Mick some Parmesan cheese for his; he really liked it too.  Some habits are hard to break--since I'm not feeling so great, I finished off my little pint of chocolate coconut milk ice cream, about two servings.

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow." ~M. Radmacher

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Stand in your power

I almost forgot that I had an appointment for Dr. H scheduled--it never made it onto any of my calendars.  Oops.  Fortunately, the only meeting I had during that time was moveable.

I arrived on time and a substitute student greeted me; my current student was getting an IV for dehydration.  The temp got my vitals and went through a lot of questions to update my file on my condition.  She asked about my diet and drinking (no judgement) and energy.

Dr. H came in and they discussed my energy level (best in a long time!) and stress (yep, there's a little!) and diet.  I mentioned that my improved energy, combined with my angry cleaning, even has my husband noticing my improved energy.  So we ended up talking about boundaries (and some peoples' lack of said boundaries) and standing up for myself and being empowered.  I'm a married woman so I know that compromise is a part of life.  At the same time, some things are important enough that I have, and I should, make them a priority.  At the risk of pissing someone off, I have to make choices that are best for me.  But I really hate pissing off people in my inner circle, as Dr. H called it.  As Sloane said in Allergic Girl, "Sometimes it's family that can be the most rigid and least understanding about your needs."

Dr. H was concerned that the quinoa was not gluten-free, maybe it was contaminated.  (I have since checked the box and it says gluten-free.)  The big concern was that I get enough protein and good fats.  I thought I was doing okay but I know I'm struggling a little.  The doctor and student recommended I eat proteins, more considered lunch or dinner food, for breakfast.  Eating fish or chicken in the morning just seems weird to me, although I love a piece of fried chicken and mashed potatoes or some leftover spaghetti with meat sauce for breakfast.  So they suggested that I make chicken salad, with fruit and nuts and my special mayo.  Hmm, maybe.

The student also spent some time going through my schedule.  The purpose, I found out, was to find areas of time when I can make batches of ingredients or cook batch food.  Obviously, I have a ridiculous schedule, as even she had trouble making a suggestion.  I didn't have the heart to tell her that her suggested Friday night batching was unlikely since I work late on Fridays unless we have plans with friends.  I understand the concept of batching, I just never quite get around to it in more than an extra day's worth of food or ingredients.  It's on my should list, though.

The other doctor came in a little after Dr. H left and restated several of the previous comments, that I looked like I was feeling very well, and that she wanted to make sure that the student emailed all of the information to me--that they should make it as easy as possible for me.  When she left, she took the student with her for a moment.  The student returned and told me how amazed they all were at my progress in such a short time.

Both doctors and the student reminded me that they want me to see Dr. M, the gentle chiropractor there.  He actually does the work and the students just observe.  On my way out, I made an appointment (for April!) with him instead of making an appointment with Dr. H.  She wants to see me every week or two, but I'm not sure what I am getting at this point besides a little therapy session and validation that I'm on the right path.

Allergic Girl

It was time to return Allergic Girl to the library.  I've renewed my loan a few times already and I was only half-way through it.  I think I had trouble getting through it because I felt a little dismissed since I won't die from my allergies.  (I'll just wish I had!)  While I can feel for her life-threatening allergy issues, I had a hard time getting around that information to find what was important to me.

But there is a lot of great information in the book and I did scan through the second half of the book before returning it.
  • Have an ally but still be responsible.
  • Trust but verify--don't trust blindly.
  • Bring safe food to catered events.
  • Eat like a (food-allergy) athlete.
  • Focus on the focus of the event (not me!)
  • Take food allergies seriously, but see lightness while ensuring safety; see the silliness or absurdity in situations.
  • Laugh when I get the eye roll or pity; the power of those expressions evaporates.
  • It's okay to walk away and not eat.
  • Make sure that fear keeps you safe, doesn't take over and paralyze me.
  • Note what food can do to me and have the capacity to love what food can do for you.
  • Food is not the enemy and is not scary: food is food.
  • Allergies are not me, just part of who I am.
She talked about types of friends:
  • Always ask you to pick (can be a lot of pressure)
  • Try to support you
  • Advocates for you: the food allergy deputy
  • Goes too far: the food allergy bulldog, puts a lot of pressure on you, makes you feel guilty, puts the focus on you relentlessly
"One cannot have too large a party.  A large party secures its own amusement."  Mr. Weston, Emma, Jane Austen

You can't control everything but should take reasonable measures.  She gives tips for eating out, including pre-contacting a manager, bringing chef cards.  She discusses cross contamination, replacing pots and utensils.  (Which my husband would call paranoid, rather than reasonable measures.)

She talks about early on, having reactions and didn't know that it wasn't normal.  I'm sure I started that way and it got worse over time.  She says that we are passionate about food because we need to be.  It is a little hard to reconcile what I have to do (I don't care if you think I have a choice--I don't think I have a choice to eat stuff that makes me sick) and how I want to live...It seems hard to "Go boldly" when I'm being so careful and always have to be so aware of things that everyone else takes for granted.

Say your weak thing in a strong voice."  Carrie Fisher in Wishful Thinking