Friday, September 13, 2013


I keep thinking about how different my morning is.  Nothing like twenty six years ago.

Nora quietly woke up slowly.  When I peeked in their room, she turned to me like a sunflower facing the sun.  She stretched.  She flopped back into bed.  I approached her, arms open.  She bounded into my arms instinctively.

I carried her in to our room, she gently patted my back as we moved.  Spencer hardly stirred.

Twenty six years ago, I got myself up on my own.  I was careful to be quiet, as there were so many of my aunts and uncles gathered in the house.  I showered.  I dressed.  Although, I can't be sure.  My heart was numb.  My brain switched off.

I set Nora on the bed.  She smiled and said, "Cuddle time?"  I climbed back into bed and she wrapped her arms around me.

I heard muffled noises from the front of the house.  I dreaded seeing everyone.  I noiselessly stalked into the kitchen.  I thought about breakfast, but I don't think I ate.  Someone motioned for me to say goodbye to my mom before I headed off to the bus stop.  I stepped down into the family room.

"Tomorrow is family day.  Two days in a row," I told Nora and she glowed.  Her long limbs twitched in excitement.  I steadied my heart.  Taking stock to stay in the moment.  Training my brain to stay here.

The room was dark.  Crowded.  Sad.  My mom had been sleeping in a hospital bed near the sliding glass door.  I had not known that the addition of the hospital room meant my mom would soon be dead.  I just thought, I just thought...  I was careful not to wake her.  I bent over the railing and laid my hand on hers.  It was cold.

The light from the windows finally got Spencer to stir.  I try not to think about how important light is to the race to get to school on time as we face the dark seasons.  Dave goes to him and lures him into the day.  He, too, is reminded that family weekend starts tomorrow.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Adventures in (not really) Gluten Free Cooking

Yes, we are gluten free.  But is what I am doing considered cooking?  Probably not.

We ate burgers (gf veggie for the adults, grass-fed cow meat for the kids) every day this week.  Sometimes with a side of gf pasta with olive oil and cheese.  Salad for the adults, frozen peas for the kids.

I am not exaggerating.

I am paralyzed in the kitchen.  I don't think I normally cooked with all that much gluten, but now it is as if my brain is on ice.  Stuck.

On the second (or third?) night of the neverending burger-fest, Dave ran out to get buns.  He meant to get Udi's, but got Rudi's WHEAT buns instead.   Only after they were in our brand, spankin' new glutenless toaster was this discovered.

It was hard not to yell.  One letter separated the toxic from the nontoxic.  Easy mistake, right?  Heated discussions on how many crumbs of gluten could have fallen into our toaster in the span of 2 minutes.  Enough to make us toss it?  Is it possible to shake the gluten free?  Anxiously, we decided to clean it.  I now avoid it.

Last night, I mustered up enough brain power to attempt gluten free pizza last night.  (I used this recipe.)  I created a "surry" with flaxseed meal to approximate the requisite glutenous goodness to make the superfine brown rice flour, tapioca flour and potato starch come together in a ball.  After the "dough" still looked like a pebbled sandy beach, I doubled the surry.  It did come together in this ethereal, temperamental glob.  The yeast seemed to work quite hard to get the heavy mass to rise just a smidge.

As we had to get rid of all of the rolling pins, I pinched out the dough into a circle.  I tried not to think about my stretchy, soft, creamy gluten pizza dough as pieces of the crust broke off.  Parbaked.  Topped.  It looked decent.  I just couldn't bring myself to take a picture.  Hipster food photography, be damned.

Nora declared that I deserved a chef hat.  Dave repeated that he loved it, even though I was on to him that he just can't bear to survive another week of veggie burgers.  Spence told me quietly that he didn't really like it so much.

If this was just one night, one attempt of gf pizza dough, it would be a hit.  But, it isn't.  This is forever. And I want my gluten back.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Dave's in the kitchen throwing away my flour.  The King Arthur Bread Flour, the All Purpose Flour.  The Softasilk Cake Flour.  The smidge of Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flour.

I am two rooms away sobbing, heaving.  

He's chucking my Trader Joe's Garlic Naan, the St. Paul Bagel Bakery Everything Bagels, my malt extract for my homemade bagels.  

We are getting rid of the gluten.  All of it.  Or rather, Dave is.  I am grieving the gluten.

He has packaged up the Cheerio's, the Rice Krispies.  Tossed all of my Morningstar fake meat products.  Pulled the possibly contaminated Ghirardelli Dutch-processed cocoa. 

I want my daughter to be healthy, for her belly not to hurt every second of every day.  I yearn for her blood to hold on to iron so that she can have more energy, to avoid the crank that only malnourishment can bring.  I am just also in denial.  Celiac?  Nora?  It can't be.

Peering into the kitchen, I see him nearing my spices.  Penzy's spices--the Sandwich Sprinkle, the Tuscan Sunrise, and even more small glass jars with pale yellow labels.  Back off.  I already confirmed they are gluten free.

My kitchen has become a hazmat zone.  The sweet jalapeƱo colored walls, the yellow lotus beam.  This room is so core to my identity, a social gathering spot.  The site of many thrown together meals for the dear 9 to 13 pals that will drop by on a Friday night for some homemade pizzas.  And now, I can't even bear to enter it.  

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mind the Gap

It had been wobbly for quite some time.  There had been long discussions about the tooth fairy and whether she was real.  Was the tooth fairy a girl?  A boy?  Or something else?  Should we find some high speed cameras to document the fairy's arrival?  Or would that scare her off forever?  Do fairies need privacy?  Does everyone have their own personal fairy?  Or is their just one?  

He had just got home from dinner with his best buddy.  Apparently, he ate lots and lots of pasta.  In a foretaste of adolescence, he immediately darted for the kitchen to get some more food.  He came back chomping on an apple.  He gobbled it up and went to throw away the core before he came to get some "large muscle activity" (his words, not mine.)  As he looked in my direction, I saw the gap.

"Spence, you lost your tooth!"  

Where was the tooth?  We retraced the steps.  We dug the core out of the trash can.  (Yes, I realize we should be composting.)  No tooth.  Had a terse discussions about the necessity of digging through the entire trash can to unearth the very tiny tooth.  We decided a note to the tooth fairy would be sufficient.

("Dear Tooth Fairy,
I lost a tooth in the garbage maybe!!!!

Thankfully, she read the note and left the goods. She even left behind a smidge of fairy dust!