151 – Long weekend-ness

My Laptop is fixed! Actually it is replaced, something had gone well and truly awry inside my old beastie and the IT guys couldn’t bring it back from the dead this time – it turns out they are not, in fact, miracle workers. But they could give me a looks-just-like-the-old-one-but-has-newer-programs-on-it one so that’s cool.

I’ve actually had it back for a few days but my brain has been so full of stuff, and I have had so much on that I took advantage of the hiatus until I could figure out what to write about – and I’m not even sure I have but I have more energy today being that it is Sunday and we still have one more day off! Long live the Queen!

On Thursday I went on a PD course called ‘Trauma Sensitive Practice in Schools’ and fuck it was excellent. It was one of those things where I walked in and wasn’t sure if I was meant to be there or not. I sat at a table by myself at the back (rebel without a cause) and was soon joined by four guidance counsellors. Shit! I thought – do I need to have a psychology degree to understand this day?! But it turned out that no, there were a bunch of other Deans there too and it was SUCH a good day.

It was really heavy going though, the australian woman who presented – Beth Guy – had been a nurse, then a teacher and is now a Psychologist who travels and work with schools. It sounds like she does a lot with indigenous communities in Australia who probably have the highest population of traumatised children in the country to be fair. And what she talked about was fascinating. It was the science behind the brain stuff – what happens in the brain in development – as early as pre-birth – when a child experiences Trauma. Trauma being defined as anything from neglect to physical, sexual or psychological abuse. This woman had worked with pre-verbal children (0 to 2 yrs) who were already showing signs of trying to protect themselves from this abuse – or survive the neglect. Fucking hell. Thankfully the course wasn’t centred on the horrors that humanity inflicts upon its children however; more understanding how to make your classroom/school a safe place for these kids to be when they are trying to navigate the everyday business of surviving school without being triggered. And wow there is so much that these kids can’t control – so much that is wired beyond their power – that could set them off in to a total Freeze/Fight/Flee situation. But there is also so much that we can do to help them relax enough to actually remember what is being said in class and action what we ask them to do. I left so inspired but so weighed down with it. I really wanted wine so I didn’t have to think about my girls and what they live with every day.

So I impulse-bought boots. Makes sense huh? You feel me.

Then I spent all night awake with this new information in my head. And the guilt from the boots – and niggling doubt that they were really ‘me’. In the morning I skipped boot-camp because of exhaustion and then later Friday afternoon I took the not-me-but-still-very-gorgeous-boots back. It was for the best.

I love a good long weekend though. Friend and family catch ups, time for slobbing about, time for school work (I have a whole day of report writing and assessment stuff tomorrow), and just catching up on vital alone time.

That’s if you ever get to be alone. I don’t know about other mothers but I appear to have created two little shadows and it doesn’t matter where I take myself to have alone time – they turn up moments later. At the moment one of my shadows is dressed like a tiger 24 seven so he’s pretty hard to miss (He was a hit at the zoo yesterday). I have tried leaving them happily watching TV and going to the other end of the house to read or colour in (don’t knock it ’till you’ve tried it baby) and within moments I have a little audience of two joining in on whatever I am doing. Until recently we had no light in the loo so had to have ‘quiet time’ with the door open if one wanted to see what one was, ahem, doing. This meant a visitor EVERY time I was abluting to ask me to read to them, where their socks were, what they could eat etc. We got the light fixed so I thought I could have alone time with the door closed. Turns out the hint was not received.

And with the rain the entire house has cabin fever. The grumpy Dutchman is EXTRA grumpy – not helped by the fact that he had to go ona rescue mission in our ceiling last night because the Kitten was stuck in the wall! Crawling on his belly in a space no higher than half a metre, through MASSIVE spider webs, in his pyjama pants, when all he wants to do is sleep. I was standing in the lounge helpfully shouting instructions at him through the ceiling. I think I heard grumpy muttering. Then to top it all off – the kitten so wasn’t that grateful. He sauntered over to me at the ceiling cavity, scratched my face all up being dragged out and slinked off slinkily. Cats. We are merely their house servants.

Tomorrow we are taking the lads – all three of them, fur-child as well – to the wild west for a runaround in the coastal air. They need to be run long and hard to get their energy out. Then the GD is taking the two human lads to the Museum so I can figure out how to write ‘Your daughter is a delight but she doesn’t nothing in class but take selfies and text her boyfriend you don’t know about’ 120 times.

I can’t report anything good about my food intake so I won’t go in to it. Lying by omission while I slurp tea with real milk and eat leftover ‘entertaining’ cake from my dad’s visit today. Living on the edge.

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144 – now with musical accompaniment.

Indulge me; as you read this, click on this link and have the song playing while you read. This song was my soundtrack coming down the hill towards the Harbour bridge, in the half-light of dusk, rain and wind whipping at the car, car lights all I can see, enjoying the drive home.

I have had a lovely day, mooching around the GF and Allergy show – it was busy! My friend Alissa and I are a well-oiled machine – we go in, do a loop – trying all the delicious looking samples. Then we do a second loop and maybe buy one thing? Usually not much because a lot of the stuff there you can get at the stupidmarket. I bought an apple pie because I haven’t had one in 5 years. I didn’t have breakfast because I knew I would be trying all the things. Many samples were had.

Then we headed up the hill to see Nana. I dropped the lads off at Mums because she is in a new place and its much bigger and crazier than her previous places. It is not nice to see her unhappy and in yet another facility, with yet another group of hard-working, friendly but stretched carers. She is fragile and she is our girl and if she was look-after-able at home we would have her at home but she isn’t and she doesn’t understand that and it breaks our heart.

I guess I was feeling a few feelings on the way home because my thoughts went to Eulogies. I don’t know if this is weird but I write eulogies in my head for people I love fairly regularly. I think about the best words to describe the person I love, the best way to honour their memory and the best way to say goodbye. Tonight I started with Nana, then the GD (mentally ticking off the songs he has booked in my head – Mark Lanegan and Tom Waits feature heavily) and then I laughed thinking about what people would say about me. ‘She was a dedicated teacher, a loving mother and a disobedient wife. She had a fabulous wardrobe, too many shoes to count and was bloody hard to feed’.

As we pulled in to our drive nearly an hour after we set off, the two lads asleep in their seats and the neighbourhood dark and smelling of wood fires – I reflected that I am happy and loved and lucky to be me. It is important to sit still occasionally and remember these things. It is easy to get bogged down in the daily busy-ness of day-to-day living, whole weeks rushing past like I’ve got no control and this weekend has been good for sitting still.

I don’t want to be a sad old lady at the end of my life wondering what I did with my time. If I do take after Nana and get stuck in my head, circling round and round in my memories, I want the bank to be full of love and laughter.

Now. Apple pie. Fuck yes.

143 – Rainy day bliss

Last week felt like I hit the ground running on Monday and it just kept getting faster. There was many a moment where I wanted to just ‘pause’ the world and go and have a nap. You know that feeling. Also a week without any added sugar (I’ll tackle fruit next week) had left me tired and lacking in resilience. Little stuff at work got way bigger in my head, I was grumpy with the kids, big stuff at work was just SO bad and I had no wine to console me. I ate a lot of grapes (self harming with fruit). I needed the world to stop for a day and make no demands on me.

And that came in the form of rain. Yay for fucking rain man.

Me and the lads stayed home ALL day. We didn’t get out of our pyjamas (well to be completely honest I did get dressed for an hour when I shot out to boot camp but I came straight home to my jammies). We ate comfort food and the lads played Lego and I did nothing. And I felt no guilt because that’s what I needed to do.

I figured I can shower and see Nana tomorrow. I am also looking forward to the gluten-free and allergy show with one of my best biatches. So today I did a couple of loads of washing, I made corn fritters for the lads, I watched Whip it and got all emotional b’cos apparently roller derby does that to me. I watched the lads play LEGO and let the littlest lad fall asleep on my lap (which we haven’t done in months). The GD worked (poor him) in the afternoon, so I played the good wife and made comfort food for dinner – mashed potatoes are the perfect food for rainy days. I cut my fringe – sober – which is a new thing I’m trying this year, and painted my nails. Damn it was a good day!

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141 – ow ow ow!

Tonight I went out for dinner with my work friends. I rang ahead because it was a restaurant that I hadn’t been to before and checked that they could do GF food that would be safe for a coeliac and the man I spoke to on the phone assured me that mostly the gluten was in the soy sauce dishes and that yes, they could do a number of them sans gluten for me.

So I rocked up full of confidence and was completely bamboozled by the menu straight off. It was a fairly authentic Japanese ‘pub food’ restaurant (I am told), and they made a point t say that they only made sushi when requested – they have other special dishes they were more proud of. It all looked AMAZING and delicious but I was wary because I knew that whatever my colleagues had – I would get a slightly different version – read not so great. Unfortunately my fears were realised.

The staff were unclear as to which dishes I could have and anything I suggested – the young waitress said couldn’t be adapted. Luckily one of my friends had lived in Japan for years and can speak Japanese and she asked about adapting two of the dishes by taking the sauce completely out of the picture. Thank goodness for Ruth!

I ended up having a sauce-less Salmon Tataki (barely grilled thin slivers of salmon) and a seaweed salad – no dressing  and they were both delicious. YUM. But. Within minutes of me finishing my meal I started getting stabbing stomach pains, was uncomfortable sitting still and my jeans became uncomfortably tight. I looked 8 months pregnant under my tent dress  (yes a dress over jeans because I’m so nineties) and I needed to lie down. Not gluten though, I think it was the raw factor. Remember how I am to meant to be eating raw food this year? Yes the seaweed salad may have been a mistake.

So although it was a really lovely evening catching up with some of the wonderful women I work with, it was another fail on the food front. I am off to bed now – to try to relieve some of the tension in my belly – yes that’s code for farts (but at least I might get the bed to myself tonight! All of the family and fur kids in the bed does not make for a very restful night). Good night!

140 – CAW – Running the gauntlet of dining out with Coeliacs

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Well, not if one is sugar free too. Or if it has been sitting in the cabinet on the same tray with the ‘normal’ food. Or if the server picks it up with gluten-y tongs. Or if it was cooked in the oven at the same time as something glutenous. Or if when they bring it to you – and this has happened to me – they have drizzled it with a sauce with gluten in it without thinking.

In fact, the more I learn, the more I realise that I can pretty much only eat out at those wanky Paleo or ‘clean eating’ only cafes that are popping up all over Auckland (thankfully).  Places where gluten is a dirty word – even to the normals – and they don’t cook with it, don’t stock it and don’t say the word – they hiss it. These places are great – granted that they can sometimes get a bit heavy on the coconut oil – but they are good for me because I can usually safely eat something labelled GF and know I’m not going to get glutened.

Unfortunately because being GF is so right now, and people are pretty sick of hearing about it; saying you are GF in a cafe or restaurant is bound to get the servers rolling their eyes and visibly gritting their teeth when you need to order. I always say ‘I have coeliacs disease’ (so they know I’m not just affecting it – I’m not a hipster I swear!) but I am sure that this just means extra hassle for the establishment and I know I get fobbed off on things where I could be being more careful. Because I’m a silent coeliac I could be getting glutened and not know. Which is pretty scary because cancer. So we don’t get out much anymore.

But tomorrow night I am going out for dinner with some of my Dean friends from school . We are going somewhere that I haven’t been before and I am going to have to ring them tomorrow to ask if they have gluten free options that are safe for Coeliacs. It is a Japanese restaurant and a good one by all accounts so I am hoping I can eat ‘off the menu’ and not have to have a ‘special’ meal made for me with all the delicious-ness taken out of it.

Wish me luck!

139 – Tuesday of Coeliac Awareness Week – Rolled oats – safe for Coeliacs or no?

RolledOats   Nutty-oat-biscuits   10092672

The role of oats in a gluten-free diet – has the evidence changed?

Although the addition of oats to a gluten-free diet has nutritional benefits and may introduce more variety in the diet, evidence for their use remains controversial.  The main protein type in oats is different to the gluten found in wheat and other cereals, however, oats do contain smaller amounts of avenin, a protein which is similar to gluten.

Recent evidence suggests that a subgroup of people with coeliac disease are intolerant to pure oats and also that the amount of avenin and the degree to which an immune response is triggered varies between different cultivars of oats. This new research may help explain why earlier research into the safety of oats in people with coeliac disease has had contradictory results. Most studies have also differed in the type and purity of the oats used and in study size and design.

Contamination of oats and oat-containing products with gluten continues to be a problem for researchers and also for people who choose to include oats in their diet. Contamination may occur during planting, harvesting, transport and processing of oats. Many countries are now working to improve agricultural techniques and industrial processes so that an uncontaminated supply of oats and oat products are available.

Current advice in New Zealand (July 2010) recommends that the consumption of oats and oat containing products should be avoided by people with coeliac disease.

“The safety of oats in individuals with coeliac disease has been extensively investigated. Some people with coeliac disease exhibit toxicity to oats. The Clinical Advisory Committee of the Coeliac Research Fund recommends that in Australia and New Zealand, oats should be excluded from a gluten free diet for people with coeliac disease.”’

Best Practice Advocacy Centre of NZ, 2011.

So what that boils down to is that at the moment, Oats are pretty much a no-go for people with Coeliac disease – even if you buy the really fucking expensive ones from the health food store that have been imported from ‘Murica and are plastered with ‘gluten free’ all over them. Because of the Avenin.

Which means that people with coeliacs and people baking for people with coeliacs need to think outside the box for chewy, tasty recipe fillers. I have a good brown rice porridge recipe that I use (and have posted before) and I know that some folks use both quinoa flakes and rice flakes in baking. I have not tried these but have them on my (long) list of things to do in the near future.

To sum up; People with Coeliac disease can’t eat Wheat, Rye, Barley or OATS.

And I miss porridge.

138 – Coeliac awareness week

Did you know that in New Zealand it is Coeliac Awareness Week this week? From the 18th until the 24th of May the folks over at Coeliac.org.nz are going to be doing their best to make people aware of what Coeliacs is, the symptoms of it and how to get tested; And they will be promoting the stories of famous (or world-famous in NZ) folks who also have Coeliac disease. So this week I too will be focusing on ceoliacs ‘stuff’ in order to talk the walk or some shit.

I’ll start by ripping some stuff straight from the Coeliac.org site;

What is Coeliac Disease? Coeliac disease is a permanent, autoimmune disorder caused by an intolerance to gluten which is found in wheat, barley, oats and rye. This intolerance to gluten causes the body to produce antibodies which damage the lining of the small bowel and make it impossible for the body to absorb vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from food. Both genetic and environmental factors play important roles in coeliac disease and coeliac disease is hereditary.

In 2015, it is estimated that 60,000 to 70,000 of kiwis have coeliac disease (1 in 70), however up to 80% of those are unaware they have the condition.

There are no specific symptoms of coeliac disease. Every body experiences it differently (remember I am considered a ‘Silent’ Coeliac because I don’t get a lot of the more unpleasant bottom-related symptoms) Click this link to read about some of the symptoms which may occur alone or in combination.

Here is a photo of a cat who doesn’t have Coeliac disease;

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Notice how happy he looks wit his bread hat – definitely not Coeliac. Lucky cat.

How did I get diagnosed I hear you asking? Was I terribly uncomfortable every time I ate bread? Did doughnuts make me dizzy? Was I exhausted, bloated and fading away? Well, yes and no.

I went to the doc for my usual half yearly WOF. I try to go regularly to get my iron levels checked, anything else looked at and my general paranoia about dying of something random and possibly-parenting-related eased. This time it wasn’t my usual Doctor, she had left the practice and they had to give me a locum. It turns out this was a good thing because she wouldn’t be fobbed of with ‘Of course I’m tired, I have two small children, a fairly hard-core job and I get up every morning and go for a run! YES I am tired all the time but that’s got to be normal hasn’t it?’. Not so said she, and what are your iron levels like she asked.

Well, they were and have always been fucked. No matter how many beasts were slaughtered so that I may dine upon their iron rich limbs, no matter how many leafy greens I ate, no matter how many bloody iron pills I took; I was always very low in iron. Under 20 low. (That’s really low btw). SO on the basis of my general exhaustion, foggy brain and low iron she had me tested. And of course here I am.

That was in March of 2012. My bloods were so high that I was Coeliac enough for three people so she had me booked in a for a biopsy straight away. I then had to wait until September for the actual procedure (I tell you what, being unconscious for that was the best 1.5 hr sleep I have had in ages and since, oh to do it again just for the shut-eye!) and it came back confirmed. The villi in my gut was non-existent and the damage was extensive. I thought it looked pretty in the photograph but the medical people were horrified. Very bad they said.

And that’s me. I have been gluten-free since September 2012 and will be for the rest of my life unless they develop the mythical vaccine.

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137 – Sunday

There’s no way to accurately describe the crazy humour and desperate sadness that is sitting with my Nana for 2 and a half hours as she asks the same three questions over and over again. As she obsesses over the other woman who is supposed to have moved in with my Grandad. As she mithers over her ‘lost’ rings. As she giggles when I say that I would visit every day but she wouldn’t remember anyway. As she reads the same card of information over and over and over again – making the same mistakes over the same words, asking the same questions at the same points and exclaiming ‘It says you’ll be here on Sunday Kathleen and look there you are!’. Madness.

I can’t write about it but I can say that for the first time in MONTHS I walked out of the hospital thinking about drinking a whole bottle of wine and maybe stealing one of the grumpy Dutchmans cigarettes.

Instead I did something totally not rock and roll. Food shopping.

Living on the edge. Didn’t quite scratch the itch I gotta say. But I have managed to ease the sunday horrors a wee bit and prepped for the week ahead. I have roasted a variety of veges (courgettes, kumara, beans, capsicum etc). I am about to go boil some eggs and I have tins of salmon and avocado on hand to go with the veges. I am determined not to be caught short this week, especially as I am anticipating major sugar withdrawal combined with busy-ness for the week ahead.

The GD had a veeerrrrrryyy late night/early morning so I am guessing all three dutchmen might be in bed early tonight. Peace and quiet for Mamabear. Win.

136 – Camping in the lounge

The grumpy Dutchman has gone to a gig tonight. With bands and alcohol and grown up conversation and everything. He’ll probably go deaf from the loud music and spend more than the strict budget I gave him. He’ll drink beer and come home way later than I’ve been out in aaaaaaaages. I am trying really hard not be jealous.

I, on the other hand, am lying on the floor of the lounge right now, on a layer of duvets and mink blankets with all the pillows in the house under my head, two small boys on either side. We are camping in the lounge tonight. We are watching the worst movie in the world. Shark girl and Lava boy or some shit. And I am sulking because I want to watch Big Hero 6 and I got outvoted two to one.

Tonight, because the GD was going out and I wanted a treat too, we had wok express for dinner. We get them because the delivery guy is cute and the meals are GF-able. And they are yummy. Now I feel kinda bleurgh, because takeaways do that, and my bum is already numbing off from the floor – but the lads are happy.

I tried on a suit last night for the Ball (teacher chaperone) and have found a winner – but the stretch across my – ahem, strong – thighs is good motivation to kick the sugar between now and the Ball!

Now, I need to stop tapping so the wee lads start to nod off and I can watch my movie choice. And not feel envious of the GD at all. It’s not like I miss having a social life or anything….

134

I have spent the day with teenagers on a field trip, and then in the evening taking my Grandad to see my Nana in hospital. I had planned to write a deep and meaningful about the different conversations I had with each group – the girls at the very beginning of their lives trying to commit to or pin down a future pathway to prepare for when they leave school vs my Nana, who has decided she is on her death-bed (she is not dying but she isn’t eating so she feels terrible) and is looking back on her life and finding it wanting.

But then, I found a Buzzfeed post about Heathers and I remembered Christian Slater and how FUCKING SEXY he was in that movie. My first serious crush.

You’re welcome.

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