Day 59 – Nice day for a wedding

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What a beautiful day for a wedding.  The bride was stunning, there was loving family and friends, fondly remembered dearly departed and lots of good touchy feeling warm fuzzy stuff all round. A lovely day had by all.

It also included a very drunk grumpy, then not so grumpy Dutchman. A meal (for me) that consisted of green beans and chicken (I knew there wouldn’t be anything GF so I pre-loaded – don’t worry about me ha ha), and 3 litres of bottled water.

I am home now on the couch with two very grateful fur-children, I left the GD there – there was no removing him – he has been looking forward to this event for years. He started getting excited about Wednesday last week; getting tense and manically obnoxiously happy and working on his playlist. I came home from getting my hair did this morning (nothing fancy just getting rid of me grey) to find him already drinking on the back deck at 10:30am. He just got more excited (drunk) from then on really. At one point I sent him for a walk to settle down – it worked – he came back and gave a really lovely speech and got all teary the big sop.

When I left him he was declaring his undying love for me, in between asking if I was mad, and I was getting increasingly mad with him because he wouldn’t get out of the car and let me go home to sleep! Waaaaaaay past my sober bedtime.

I wonder what time he’ll get home tonight? I won’t notice – I am off to bed now!

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Day 58 – Making pictures. Or not.

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Friday thank goodness. And, unusually, I have a life. Friends of mine have a band, The Blue Roses, and I went to watch them play at the Thirsty. Late night for me! And tomorrow the wedding! Excitement. I will be a zombie on Monday.

A little bird told my friend that I used to do a bit of informal gig photography, and that I was pretty good, and so she hinted that I might like to shoot her gig because she’d feel comfy with me taking photos. So I grabbed a DSLR camera from work and took it along to see what I could do with it.

I have to say I didn’t like it. I used to shoot film on a little instamatic camera, with a flash. Also I was wasted a lot. This meant that the photos were always a pretty even split combination of skill and luck AND I had the balls to get right up in the face of the people I wanted to shoot and didn’t care if I blinded them with the flash (which I did a lot because I liked the effect). I wasn’t ever all about shooting the band – more the crowd – and I was way too aware of myself tonight. I took a couple of good photos but I gave up pretty early on. I think I need to dig out my little instamatic camera and some rolls of film. And find my metaphoric balls.

It made a decision for me though – I am not taking the camera to the wedding tomorrow because;

  1. I don’t want to be taking photos I want to be enjoying the day.
  2. They will have a professional photographer with mega gear and talent on site.
  3. the digi won’t fit in my gold brocade clutch so that settles that!

Fuck me it’s midnight and I have to get up for BC tomorrow – I’m out!

Peace.

Day 57 – new books in the mail!

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My GAPS book arrived and my bedside ‘library’ is getting full! I need to get started on this lot quick smart. I am feeling in the need for some focus so I think I will start with the GAPS book, gut healing and psychology stuff, notice I got a GAPS cookbook to go with it? Always be prepared – like a good girl guide.

This week has felt long and there is still one day to go. I was still feeling the effects of being glutened today so my brain is foggy as and my body is still slow and achey. The mid-term blues are kicking in for my girls – the wonders of the fresh start and the new term are wearing off and I spent a lot of time doling out hugs and tissues today. My office mate has a theory that they the whole school ‘syncs up’ and they all get PMS-y at the same time. Cadbury should just bulk deliver at this time. They would make a fucking killing.

It’s been the kind of day where you just want to come home and curl up with a glass of wine and some ‘alone time’. I was gifted a Whittakers %70 dark and a coke zero today. It took every ounce of my willpower to not eat them right there and then and I am pleased to say that they are still in my office fridge – I am hoping I can re-gift them without offense. What has the world come to when I am giving away chocolate? It’s unnatural.

It is getting tougher to not just go for comfort food though. Harder to resist just one small flat white when I am shattered in the morning. I am so tired that I want to use food to prop me up but I know that it is mostly from being glutened and getting used to the term being full swing again. So SLEEP is in order. And finding some time to read and get my ass educated about GAPS.

So what I need is time then. Ha! Tell ‘er she’s dreamin.

Day 56 – The lurgy has got me

Selfie with Gavin Hipkins' 'Romance: Vienna (Octopus) #artlife #aucklandartgallery #nzphotographer
Selfie with Gavin Hipkins’ ‘Romance: Vienna (Octopus) #artlife #aucklandartgallery #nzphotographer

I have spent the better part of the evening lying in bed feeling achey, body aches, head aches, hungry but not – you know the drill. The grumpy Dutchman has spent the better part of the evening feeding the kids, trying and failing to keep the lads away from me (Mum why are you lying down? Mum can I cuddle you? Mum why don’t you like me lying on you? Mum what’s this? CRASH). He cooked me a dinner because they were having pizza, and all the while sorting out his records for the upcoming wedding this weekend. It turns out he will be off DJing while I am the only sober one at the wedding too – yay.

I ate a lot of raw food today – we were on a class trip to the Galleries and I didn’t want to carry a lunchbox all over town – so we got Mexican at my suggestion. So far so good. No sore tummy from the raw food. Although, actually, while I think about it – I didn’t ask what the chicken was cooked in, and the body aches kicked in about an hour later. Damnit. It was probably coated in flour before cooking. It was delicious but I should have checked. Fuck it.

There you have it! I knew this blog would be good for me – working stuff out while I write it. Must try harder – I am usually too careful to gluten myself.

But – in a sort of not way – it’s good that I haven’t got a bug because we are going to this wedding on Saturday and I wanna wear my Miss Crabb dress ha ha

Day 55 – Gluten free fad-ness is killing me

Artist - Alexandra Berger
Artist – Alexandra Berger

Ranting out loud (in my head) at my computer. Or rather – people on the interwebs. I follow the Coeliac disease NZ page and a couple of others, and mostly they are great places to get advice, commiserate and get good safe restaurant recommendations. BUT it amazes me how often people ask for help or advice and then get mad because you are not telling them that actually it would be fine to have just one pie a day because that much gluten can’t hurt can it? If you have coeliac disease it will hurt you. Or when you suggest that making food themselves from yummy ingredients would be easier than surviving on GF cake from cafes – that is probably contaminated anyway by the way. Bitch got mad at me because I suggested she cooks! I don’t know her life but I do know that boiling an egg isn’t rocket science. I only had to ring my mum the first 3 maybe 4 times the first time I did it? and now I’m practically an expert. So there.

Or – and this is really annoying – when someone finds out I am gluten-free from the coeliacs and then they say ‘I don’t eat gluten either – I am trying to lose weight’. REALLY?! ARE YOU TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT ARE YOU?!

I am all for not eating stuff that makes you feel like shite. Have you seen my list of no-gos ffs? And I have every respect for those folks that are doing what they can to feel the best they can feel. BUT don’t go gluten-free ‘for your weight’ and then eat all the packaged, sugar-free, chemical shit storm gluten-free food in the stupidmarket and then complain about getting fat. Processed food is processed food. When they take out the gluten they add sugar and salt and other ‘filler’s to make it taste ‘normal’ Don’t be fooled dude.

Especially don’t come to a work function and hoover up all the gluten-free food that they thoughtfully got in – leaving none for the real foodtards, and then go over to the ‘normals’ food and just have one because it ‘won’t hurt’. Because it won’t hurt you. And you ate all my fucking grapes and now I hate you.

Shall I tell you what I have learned about cafes and restaurant gluten free-ness? I have learned that even if the food has gluten-free ingredients, if it is cooked on the same tray as gluteny food it will be contaminated. If it is stored in the same display as the other food it is likely to be contaminated. (It can be okay if they store it at the top so nothing can drop crumbs on it). If they don’t have gluten-free specific tongs, the food is contaminated. If they don’t have gluten-free cutting boards or utensils out the back then the food is likely to be contaminated. Even if you order gluten-free toast; if they cook it in the same toaster it is definitely contaminated.

I have learned that if you ask these questions cafe staff quickly become sick of you and either a. lie to shut you up or b. make it clear they want you to fuck off. And that’s fair enough really. They can only go so far to accommodate. I have learned that it is easier to not eat out very often.

And although I think that the ‘trend’ towards gluten-free eating has meant that there are heaps of yummy things on the market now that are safe for me to eat and although I agree to some extent that coeliacs ‘should be grateful’ that there are more options out there for us, I am conscious that every time I say that I need to have gluten-free food I cringe a little in case someone thinks this is my ‘lifestyle choice’. It would be amazing to get up tomorrow and be able to eat anything I like.

I am not an angel. I know that if I could – and knew it wouldn’t hurt me – I would eat pretty randomly. It takes a lot of organisation and effort to be able to eat at every meal, to be prepared for each day – and I am not too often – and to make sure that I am getting everything I need from my food. It is tiring when the rest of life is demanding attention too. I guess that’s why I get so irritated with the foodie fads.

I ALSO KNOW HOW ANNOYING IT IS TO HANG OUT WITH ME. My very thoughtful friends and family go to great lengths to make me food or treats and they are so disappointed when I can’t eat them because of some shit. I’m sorry.

GF for life bitches.

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Day 54 – tired pants.

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Normally I wake up about 15 minutes before my alarm goes off in the morning and I lie awake mentally prepping for the day, that way too, when I get to boot camp I am pretty awake and able to appreciate the beautiful morning.

Not so this morning. I woke up ten minutes before the alarm, checked my phone and decided to lie there as per. I fell in to a DEEP deep sleep and got the fright of my life when my alarm went off. And I will confess, I rolled over and seriously thought about hitting snooze. This is very unlike me. I am not bragging – I am just a morning person and totally fine with that.

And with being a ‘morning person’ comes with its opposite and equal personality trait – not being a night owl. I am always the first person to bed. Sometimes I even beat my kids. I have been known to leave the room at my own birthday party to put myself to bed (although drink usually plays a part there too) and the holidays have been playing havoc with my sleep patterns. I am shattered. Knackered. F.Ucked.

But it has been a good day otherwise. My Miss Crabb dress arrived in the mail (trademe don’t panic babe, vintage and real silk!) and I LOVE it. I admit I am a bit of a ‘collector’ and my treats these days can’t be food so I am finding my pleasures elsewhere.

Like Mr Wilde says ‘You can never be over-dress or over-educated’ my peeps.

Sleep well!

Day 53 – just eat real food or #JERF (apparently)

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Today I woke up with a hangover. Which I consider HIGHLY unfair considering I haven’t had a drink in 53 days. Hen’s night soda water hangover? yeah right. More like just nana-pants-not-coping with her late night. Or maybe I had an allergic reaction to the stripper; Did you know that the grumpy Dutchman used to be allergic to strippers? It’s true. He had to leave his own stag do lap dance to go and throw up, and he used to either be violently ill or fall asleep almost immediately at the mention of them. You’ll be reassured to know that, through a series of small exposures, gradually building up his immunity, and with the support of some very close friends, he is now back to ‘normal’ and can tolerate strippers with the same drunken enthusiasm as the rest of the lads. Phew! Could have been worse.

Anywaaaaay, I woke up with a hangover and was super grumpy about it, because that sucks, so I piled the lads in the car and we headed up the hill for a visit to the grandies. I left the GD at home to clean because A. He is bad at tolerating road trips with two (fighting) lads B. he has more enthusiasm for vacuuming and C. duh cleaning sucks.

Before I left, feeling exceptionally pious in my alcohol free state, I sucked back a green smoothie that I made up (just combined all the good bits I know). It was delicious and filling, here is the recipe;

  • 1 cup coconut water (no added sugar stuff)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • half an avocado
  • 1 frozen banana chopped
  • a great big handful of greens – kale/spinach/rocket whateves bro
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla powder
  • one tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1 tblsp of protein powder – I have done it with and without – when I added it I wasn’t hungry again until lunchtime – without it I needed to eat again after a couple of hours…. up to you – I have mixed feelings about protein powder as I have said before…

Blitz it and pour – this will give you more than one full glass but not enough for two full glasses. I give the half leftover to whomever is nagging the loudest and they all seem to like it!

We visited my grandies, then I took the lads to see my Mum and stepdad. They live on a big property where Mum has an enormous garden full of fruit and veg and they have chooks and get ‘happy eggs’ in exchange for giving them food and (quite luxurious by chicken standards) lodgings – Chooketeria‘s and all.

The boys love visiting, equally because Mum has an iPad which they can play on AND they get to feed the chooks and collect the eggs, and search for frogs in the ponds and harvest various veges from the garden that they will refuse to eat later. Today we got a big pile of veg from mum to bring home – half to give away – and the rest for us to eat.

It is interesting, when I explain to folks what I am not eating – they always ask the same thing ‘well, what CAN you eat?’ as in what the hell is left? And I always answer the same thing. Meat, eggs, most veges and bits and pieces here and there. There is actually a lot left. Especially when you add in rice, quinoa, some fruit, nut butters, veges purees etc. And I explain, that even before I was diagnosed, the GD and I pretty much did from scratch in our cooking so it wasn’t a biggie.

Part of the reason people who go GF gain weight is because the GF alternatives to ‘normal’ food are loaded up with sugar and salt to mask the lack of delicious gluten. Hence me avoiding them as much as I can. Mostly they don’t taste as good as the real thing anyway so I’d rather not bother to be honest. You are much better off just eliminating the stuff with the gluten altogether, don’t look for replacements, but explore all the other food there is left. Most people only have a few recipes they cook, a few food sources they go to and a routine bunch of ingredients they use. We were like that too – we cooked from fresh, but we used the stuff we knew. And I was a pretty conservative eater – I only tried butter chicken in my early twenties! ha ha. But now I’m up for anything. Really. Because I never know when I might be un-locking a whole new ingredient to be using in my limited diet – I can’t pass it up. I love food and most days I feel pretty satisfied. (Of course I have days when I could murder the family for eating ginger kisses in front of me but I find that ranting unintelligibly at them and then sulking for a while works just fine to help the feelings pass).

And, I really like that the lads get to see where their food comes from. They have made the connection now between the chickens that they have held and fed and the chicken they eat for dinner. They collect the eggs and they pick the courgettes and tomatoes etc themselves. They haven’t had much face to face contact with bigger cattles beasts but they ‘get’ that the cute pig and piglets at the easter show will one day be bacon, and they know where beef and milk comes from. And they can make their own decisions about eating them. We try to have the discussions.

So today’s ‘food from scratch’. My friend Joe was here on his last day before heading back to Korea, and he had a real hangover so I made homemade chips out of kumara, carrots and potatoes (with a hint of paprika thanks Alissa for the tip) and they were delicious! Hit all the spots. I made dinner with the GIANT yellow marrow we got from mum today, stuffed with mince and a quinoa/rice mix – it was also delicious although I am the only one who ate the marrow because the boys suck. It was soft and tender and not at all weird. True.

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And now I just have to get my gear ready for boot camp tomorrow morning before I finally give in to the nagging and watch the first episode of Breaking Bad with the grumpy Dutchman – I know it’s weird that I haven’t watched any of it yet but it has always been on too late for me! I know.

Day 52 – strippers and soda water

Hen’s nights. I have only been to three in my life and it appears that there is only one male stripper in Auckland because he was at two of them. (My sister’s Hen’s was a very civilised affair in Hanmer springs and there was no stripper).

Our lovely friends are getting married next weekend and tonight was the Hen’s party (hence my super late post!), I have been half dreading it all week.

Because no booze. And what is the point of a Hen’s if not to get right royally off your tits, play silly games and travel in a big drunk giggling mass through town? I am a bit inexperienced I admit; I didn’t have a Hens of my own – I was a little tiny bit pregnant when I got married so it would have been a very ‘dry’ occasion… But I digress.

The reason I have been dreading it is because I don’t want to be a wet blanket. The lovely, and very organised bridesmaids had done a great job, with a ‘mixologist’ on hand and all sorts of delicious looking food. I drank soda water and lime all night – much to the amusement of the mixologist. I couldn’t eat the food and I knew that was going to happen so I had pre-loaded before I came out. And tried really hard not to yawn (cos’ late night) or be boring or not as excited as the rest of the bunch. And I went to the bathroom a lot.

I have to say, it’s really weird watching a stripper sober. We assembled and he duly arrived and did his ‘sexy’ entrance dance. He strutted around, gesticulating toward his ‘special area’ and manoeuvred both the bride-to-be and the bridesmaid into awkward and intimate clinches all for the amusement of the rest of us. I spent most of the time cowering behind both my friends and the pot plant on the deck desperately trying to avoid being dragged in to the ‘fun’. Seriously – my dress is silk and I will CUT you if you get whipped cream or body oil on it. Don’t test me man.

But it got us talking. What is sexy? Channing Tatum is sexy. That bit on a man’s body where his hips go down in a ‘v’ is sexy. I’ve also got a bit of a westie fetish for a man wearing nothing but black jeans – bare chest and feet. The GD has been known to ‘casually’ wander through the house dressed in such a manner just to see me catch my breath and forget my train of thought. We agreed that our experience of male strippers wasn’t sexy. And considering that this one advertised himself as ‘NZ’s hottest male stripper’ things weren’t looking good for the rest of them.

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Anyway, it’s late now – the Hen has headed in to town with her best bitches to find a bar to dance the night away. I am starving but well hydrated and it is past midnight. Bedtime for me!

Day 51 – TGIF

Grumpy cat is happy on friday

Friday friday, thank fuck it’s Friday! And because things aren’t still completely up and running at work I got to leave early-ish at 4. I was driving home and thinking, beautiful day; glass of wine by myself out the back in the sun before all the boys get home.

Oh yeah. That’s right. I don’t drink this year.

And actually, I had such a bad ear-ache from the too cold air-con at work that when I thought about it I realised that I didn’t actually want a glass of wine – I wanted a lie-down. Progress. If it had been last year, I would have come home and poured a cold, crispy, refreshing glass of Sav – and instantly my headache would have gotten worse. Instead – and I can’t believe I’m admitting this – I lay down, downed two full glasses of water and cruised around on the interwebs for a while… My ear-ache receded dramatically. Who’da thunk it?

Have you seen ‘The Katering Show‘? Oh my god. These women get me. I lost an hour of my life watching them and laughed and laughed and laughed. Even the GD cracked a smile. Kate McCartney is an australian version of me. Watch it.

Because it was friday and we are lazy, we got fish and chips for dinner. FYI Gluten-free fish and chips leave you feeling just as bloated and greasy as non gluten-free fish and chips. I sent the (very) grumpy Dutchman to The Ancient Mariner in Mt Eden because they have a dedicated gluten-free fryer. I told myself that it would be different this time. That I wouldn’t regret it because they understand me. They GET cross-contamination. I lied.

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Looking forward to a kid-free day tomorrow doing errands – I might finally post the xmas parcels to the nieces and nephews! They’ll have given up waiting so it’ll be an even more pleasant surprise… at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Day 50 – DH

As I lay down this afternoon to get my lashes filled, I instinctively put my hand up to shield my forehead and eyebrows and apologised to the lovely woman about how ‘gross’ I was. She naturally said ‘what are you talking about?’ in that wonderful way that beauty professionals have – no matter what state you present in – they tell you you are lovely, but I still felt self-conscious.

This is weird in itself because – it really is true what people tell you – the older I get, the better I feel about myself. These days I can leave the house with hair dishevelled, legs fuzzy, no make-up (I never wear make-up these days), trackies and a singlet and I still feel the hottest thing since sliced bread. This would not have been true ten years ago. Ten years ago I would have slunk out as if apologetic for my existence – and to feel ‘ok’ enough to feel attractive would have depended heavily on time of the month, gym up keep and careful prep. I based my worth on what other folks thought of me and that was a constant slippery slope of trying to please everyone around me. I am def enjoying the freedom and confidence that comes with being older, more experienced, and just not giving a shit what other folks think anymore. I am either going to be really obnoxious at 90 or really rock and roll if I keep going at this rate ha ha.

And yet. Since my Coeliacs diagnosis I have been Gluten free for two and bit years, and like my ‘about’ page says, I have felt worse since. I put on weight no matter what I do, I suddenly struggled with stabbing and random gut ache most days but what had me down most was my skin and it’s seemingly sudden complete break down. I have always have ‘sensitive’ skin. I have never worn foundation or moisturiser on my skin because without fail I break out within an hour of putting it on. I don’t like the way it feels – like my face is suffocating.

In the last ten years or so I have gotten very small blisters all over my hands when stressed or in the darkroom too much. I had alway assumed it was because I had reached a ‘maximum’ level of toxicity in my system. Nearly 20 years in the darkroom, trailing my hands through chemicals and my art school antics, I figured had screwed me and made me sensitive to the world.

Since going GF though, not only do my hands still have their moments – and it is definitely stress related BUT now my face seems to be the hotspot. All the skin on my eyebrows, forehead, chin and around my nose peels off almost daily. It sounds like it looks gruesome – and it doesn’t thank god. I go bright red in an instant – and take ages to get ‘normal’ again (I can’t wear lipstick anymore because my face always clashes with the colour). I can’t walk ten metres without looking like I ran a marathon. My face is itchy and scratchy and I pick and scratch like a meth addict. It makes me paranoid when I am talking to anyone up close, and I have tried SO many things to ‘fix’ it. You name it I have tried it. Giving up Dairy is meant to significantly improve it and it seemed to be doing so for a wee while, but now it’s come back with a vengeance.

I use gluten-free shampoo and conditioner and stopped washing my face with anything but warm water and good clean flannel. I take Zinc, and fish oil and eat lots of good healthy fats. And yet.

There is something called ‘Dermatitis Herpetiformis’ which is associated with Coeliacs, (not herpes or dermatitis according my confusing source but rather a chronic ‘skin condition’ related to damage in the gut);  ‘Like coeliac disease, DH is treated with a lifelong gluten-free diet. It may take about six months to achieve moderate improvement in the skin condition and up to two years or more to achieve total control by diet alone, meaning that the skin response is much slower compared to the healing of the intestines with coeliac disease‘. This does not fill me with joy. And to be honest I don’t think this is my issue. My skin is not covered in small liquid filled blisters – and DH presents, er, lower down Legs, bum etc), usually after a glutening. Not on the face.

My skin is fucked all the time. I flake off on to anything I am wearing and am constantly conscious of my red face. I wear a fringe – not only because it looks hot duh – but because it covers my forehead and it’s sad, peeling, dry skin.

So, although my gut feels better, I don’t look as pregnant anymore and I feel like my weight is ‘settling’ since I went everything-free, I am still waiting to see an improvement in my skin. Although I am doing this ‘year of health’ to heal my gut, I would very much like to see my face settle down to a nice pasty, pakeha-white and not look sunburned or flushed all the time.

Wow downer man. Sorry peeps.