In a state of confusion

Life has been upside-down lately. Many things have changed significantly; many things are completely the same. Much like my almost-two-year-old, I’m used to order and crave structure.

Life is a roller coaster; I understand that. There should be ups and downs – without them, there would be too much monotony and frankly, life would be completely boring.

I like boring.

When life isn’t boring, I become stressed.

When I become stressed, I internalize my panic and nerves and worries and strife – and out come health issues.

Gluten sensitivity to the point that I need to consume a strict gluten-free diet.

Headaches so intense I can’t function well.

Depression.

Pain.

This roller coaster, it’s a jarring ride.

I have been able to buffer the “jarriness” of the ride with books, my crocheting, and my family. It’s difficult, but with the anticipation of my sister’s new baby arriving (any day now!!!!) and crazy workdays (I’m back working in the office – after 3.5 months of working at home, at the beginning of June I headed back in for my hour-long commute and am back in the office. Oh, and I changed my hours – I go in -and therefore get out- an hour earlier. Good in the long run, sucks getting up early) and stressful coworkers and too much craziness and not enough wine, well, it has been extra jarring.

When I’m going through a gluten sensitivity bout, I have extreme issues with consumption of anything containing wheat, barley, hops, and anything else in the category; I also get sick if I use a toaster to thaw my gluten free bread that has previously been used for gluten-filled bread. It doesn’t take much to make my insides want to just explode.

I had been exclusively gluten-free for about 3 months. A short bit ago, I realized that the “medicine” that I had been taking to help me consume gluten a little bit better (aka, eat gluten free but if I needed to be sure I didn’t get sick from cross-contamination, take two pills and call it good, and later, a box of macaroni and cheese or a calzone and some  onion rings – all full of gluten) had zero active ingredients. Zero. I decided to attempt some gluten, knowing that it was likely going to be absolutely no different than with the “medication” – and I was right. I had no adverse affects.

I started eating gluten again.

My stress level has not changed. Nothing in my life has changed to allow my stress level to decrease – things have actually gone in the opposite direction. My stress level is through the roof.

And my chronic pain is back. I woke up a few days ago and my hands were on fire. I actually started this post just over a week ago, but after typing all day at work, the last thing I want to do when I get home is type. I’m crocheting an afghan for my new niece, and that’s taking up all of my hand strength. That, and caring for an almost-two-year-old. When I stand up at work after sitting for a while, I can’t walk upright for a few moments – I look like an 80- or 90-year-old woman.

Life is crazy. Life is full of give-and-take, and making sacrifices.

As much as I love gluten, I believe that I need to make some (permanent) changes – I need to significantly reduce the amount of gluten I consume, and I need to regularly work out. I need to focus on my health, and I need to increase my strength and stamina. I am tired of always being tired, always being in pain, always needing to stop what I’m doing because my body won’t let me. I understand with EDS that I need to take it relatively easy on my joints, that there are some things I can’t do, but I need to make myself stronger. I just need to do it, and I need to do it now.

For my family.

For my sanity.

For me.

Let’s start anew…

Thanksgiving has come and gone. I’m not sure how or where. It was ripe with fun and family and everything that goes along with it. Traditions are a biggie for me, and though I was hoping to start a new one this year of eating yummy breakfast and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, things got in the way. I’m hoping that next year will be a little more sane and we will be able to take in the wide variety of floats and balloons.

Munchkin man enjoyed socializing with extended family, and we enjoyed watching him try new foods and run around the houses. He really is quite a ham, and is definitely not shy.

I have fallen off of the weight-loss wagon, but despite doing so, I have stayed at a relatively stable weight. I’m okay with this – I would rather stay flat than gain. I have a newfound motivation as we head into the Christmas season, so hopefully I am able to carry that motivation with me and it doesn’t find the nearest open window.

I started writing for NaNoWriMo and failed miserably. My first attempt got me to about 675 words, but I stopped caring about the story and had no real desire to flesh it out. So I changed everything, and got to about 350 words. Again, I didn’t really care about making the time to write, so I stopped. I definitely didn’t get to the goal word-count; maybe next year.

Quel horreur

When I was in France, I ate my share (and more) of French pastries. And it showed. My favorite pants became a bit snug, regardless of the fact that I lived on the “quatrième étage” – the 5th floor for all you Americans out there. With no elevator. And lots of stairs.

Sadly, one thing I never tried were macarons. I know, quel horreur. I should’ve. There’s something absolutely sacrilegious about the fact that I just never even thought of it; it’s right up there with the fact that I didn’t drink wine until much, much later. At all. None in France (wine country!) – absolutely zero until years later.

I had my first taste of the delightfully crispy (on the outside) yet sticky (on the inside) cookies a few weeks ago. This wonderful patisserie opened up recently, and after having caught a glimpse a week before (they were closed – merde!), I just had to try. And oh, am I glad I did. They were delicious. Scrumptious. Sweet in just the right way and in just the right amount. They were crispy and delicious. I tried one of each flavor – orange, chocolate, coffee, lemon, pistachio, and raspberry. I should’ve taken a picture, but I didn’t think about it until after I had eaten them all.

I returned this past weekend to the amazing patisserie, and I was not disappointed. I sampled a few more flavors – lavender (flowery, but in a good way! quite subtle.), salted caramel (sweet with a hint of salt at the end), rosewater (oh.my.gosh.), and of course, coffee. It was my favorite last time.

Because I live about an hour and a half away (one would think it a travesty to be so far away from such a wonderful place, but alas, my hips thank me), I don’t get to sample their fares as soon as they are available. And though their hours are quite accomodating, I sometimes just don’t make it there when they are open. Because so many people know about the deliciousness that is the macaron, they tend to sell out relatively quickly. If one waits until the end of the day to get a macaron, one will not have much of a selection to choose from – if there are any left.

Macarons – two lavender, one salted caramel. I’d be surprised if they make it through the day!

Moral of the story: enjoy a macaron when you’re in France or Manchester, NH. You’ll be glad you did.

Overnight oats

So I have wanted to try a recipe for overnight oats since I first saw one a while ago on Pinterest. With going gluten free, I decided this was the perfect time to try, and got all the ingredients I would need to put this concoction together.

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This is what I netted. Well, x2.
I put it all in a plastic container and let it sit overnight (hence the “overnight” part of the name). Brought it to work with me today, and received TONS of funny looks. It was okay. It needed something else. Next time, I’m mixing it up.

This recipe:
1/2 c rolled oats. From what I understand, these are the only ones that will work.
1/2 cup Greek yogurt.
3/4 cup milk (though it would definitely have been better with 1/2 instead.
A heaping tablespoon of peanut butter.
1 tablespoon of chocolate chips.

After tasting, I added almost 2 tbsp of strawberry preserves – ended up being quite good!

Enjoy!

I always forget…

This time last year I was 6.5 months pregnant. One of the benefits of being pregnant was that, though I was affected by the heat and humidity because I was already baking, I was not affected the way I normally am: my joints didn’t offer me a lick of problems.

Fast forward a year, and this handsome little man…

The humidity is killing me. My hands and fingers are aching more than ever, and I just want to go home and sleep. I’m tired. I’m achy. I always said I wouldn’t use this as an area to complain. I’m not; I’m just stating a fact.

The humidity tends to exacerbate the pain I feel from Fibromyalgia and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (Hypermobility), and not much will help completely. Working in an air-conditioned environment helps, and having the house stay nice and cool is also a huge benefit. A dehumidifier adds to the comfort as well. However, dry heat is the best solution. I’m not moving to Arizona, though.

Two summers ago I found a decent solution to alleviating some of the pain; I’ll be doing it again, and hope I can keep it up for good this time. I will be going gluten free. It worked then, it will (hopefully) work again. I would rather not live on painkillers and other medications; I was able to cut down to just my heartburn medication, and have stayed on just that for the majority of the time. I’m hoping the absence of gluten in my diet will keep my pain at bay, or at least subdue it. The fire can go away, thanks.

No syrup? No jelly? Pass the pesto…

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I’m not usually all too creative when I cook.

I got the urge to make breakfast for hubby and me this morning though, but when I went to find syrup for pancakes, zilch.

Redo for tomorrow, I told him. Oh, and I’d try waffles instead. We got a waffle maker roughly 3 years ago – and I’ve never used it.

Putting the baking mix into one of those fabulous OXO containers (if you don’t have any, get some. Seriously. They’re worth the price), I realized I had about one cup too much to fit. About a half of what the recipe called for for waffles.

Mixed it all up and thought, let’s put some jelly in the batter, moisten them up a bit. No jelly.

But I see pesto.

Savory waffles. It works with crepes, why wouldn’t it work with waffles??

Let me tell you, it does.

For a half-recipe, less than a teaspoon mixed into the batter – maybe a little more next time? Sprinkled some shredded mozzarella on top, added a dollop of pesto (I do love the stuff). Yum.

I think I’ll be creative more often.

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