Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The End Of This Chapter

One year ago this weekend is when it all began. It seems to me that when you reach a milestone, like a one year anniversary, there should be some sort of closure. So, without further adieu, I will close this chapter in my life. A year ago this weekend, I was in Houston for my cousin's high school graduation party, leaving the roofers, who had not shown up in time to save our garage ceiling from caving in on our car after water had leaked through one of the three holes in our roof from a hard rain, in Kevin's capable hands. I was also mourning the fact that our adoption agency had "let our file expire" leaving us ineligible for the adoption process we had worked so hard for 3 YEARS to get through. While at this party, Kevin sent me a txt saying that after the roofers left, the pipe in our guest bathroom wall busted, sending water into the bathroom, hallway, what would have been the baby's room, and the guest room. He then started sending pics of the holes in the wall to repair said pipe. I was so glad he was there taking care of it and not me. Then, a couple of days later I was relaxing in Kemah, watching the shrimping boats pass the yachts coming in and out of port. (An interesting dichotomy for sure) There is nothing like eating Blue Bell Birthday Cake ice cream in a chocolate dipped sprinkle waffle cone (one of my absolute favorites, btw), rubbing your eye, and realizing you may just have pink eye. That was on a Monday afternoon. I went to the urgent care center, confirmed pink eye, got drops, and planned to go home Tuesday. NOPE! My dad, who lives in Houston, called and said he had been to the heart doctor earlier in the day, and he was having a surgery on his heart vein with all the stints on Thursday. OH! OK! SURE! I'll stick around. Literally, no joking, Kevin called me 10 minutes after I hung up with dad to tell me he had torn his calf muscle in a brutal game of kickball that night. WHAT?!?!! OH! OK! SURE! Call your mother! This is what I told him. I'm such a great wife. I told him what was going on, and of course he understood. Fast forward to Thursday, dad has his surgery, no problems (THANK GOD!), and I promptly end up with a fever and bronchitis. Pink eye gone though by this point. I stayed in Houston a few more days, but when the fever wouldn't let up, I decided to drive home. I have no idea, except by the grace of God, how I got home. I called Kevin every hour to check in. He and his brother were ready to come get me anywhere I needed them to, if needed. I made it though. That fever lasted 10 days, and as we now know, opened the opportunity for the parasites, that had been dormant for 14 YEARS, to become active. This was still June. For our anniversary, June 14, Kevin brought home Carrabas, and set the table with candlelight. My accomplishment for that day was taking a shower to be clean for dinner. Bronchitis is a booger! By November, the parasite decided to take over in the Denver airport! No, no, not anywhere close to home, or close to anyone I knew. DENVER! After one ER trip in Denver, one ER trip in Euless, countless medical exams, needles and pain, BINGO, parasites were found! Then, I detoxed. For the parasites, right?! Well, yes...and no. I've now discovered I am allergic to gluten, and this has been causing me problems my ENTIRE LIFE! Fortunately, this is a great time in America to be allergic to gluten. Awareness is high, and so are precautions in the food industry. So, this is where this chapter ends. My doctor is convinced that there is nothing else wrong with me. I just need to maintain a gluten free diet forever, which won't be a problem considering the reactions I have to it. Not pretty! Oh, and we have a beautiful new Spanish tile roof with energy efficient radiant barrier decking, two re-tiled bathroom showers, new paint and toilet in the guest bathroom, new plumbing in 50% of our home, and a brand new A/C unit (I bargained for all new duct work with the unit...yea me!). I've also been attending a leadership class at work that you have to be selected for, revived old friendships, revived my love for playing music, and feel like a bagillion bucks with this energy from being gluten free. I THINK that covers it. One more thing, we are looking into foster-to-adopt programs, and plan to be signed up by the end of summer. Ok, now I'm done. End of Chapter! AND...I'm putting the book in the freezer (Joey on Friends did this with scarey books).

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Gluten Free Pizza Crust: Dominoes and CPK

I am now full steam ahead into learning what I can and can not eat. There is a GF app that tells me what restaurants in the area (according to my GPS coordinates) offer GF menu items. It also offers reviews from people who have braved the GF moniker, daring to take that risk. The risk that we will not experience unmentionable things when we believe the corporate marketing monkeys who labeled "it" GF. We want to trust that what we are being told is the truth. The truth that gluten free REALLY means gluten free. We want to be able to sink our teeth into that bagel, wrap our lips around that perfectly swirled fork of pasta, or in my case, hear the crunch when I bite down on a thin crust pizza. The quest begins. I tried the frozen variety provided by Amy's Kitchen. Not bad, but not exactly what I was looking for. Then, last week, as pizza heard my cry (I should get drama points here), Dominoes came out with a gluten free pizza crust. I have never really been a fan of Dominoes. That cheap food taste has never been attractive to me, but I thought I would give it a whirl. Fortunately, I "whirled" it through my app first. Enter the corporate marketing monkeys! Dominoes makes their GF dough in the same place as the regular dough. It is NOT recommended by the GF gurus (I forget the name of it, but it's the Celiac Disease people) because of the inevitability of cross-contamination. I knew I didn't like Dominoes! Boo on them!
Now, here's a place where the marketing monkeys saw a reflection of themselves in the mirror. OUCH! That was ugly! They had a GF pizza crust, and realized they were also cross-contaminating their product. They REMOVED their GF options, and have partnered with GIG (Gluten Intolerance Group) to review their baking methods, and will reintroduce their GF crust when they get it right! WOW! Kudos to CPK and the marketing monkeys who are not just trying to make a buck, but also trying to make it right. So, there is hope. I have not tried any restaurant pizza, although I know GF out there. I've been recommended to BJ's Brewhouse, Fireside Pies, and Woodfire Grill. I love all those places, and I have no doubt that my unrelenting allergy will sniff out the monkeys. More to come...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

I don't like it. How's that for a mushy, heart warming, lovey-dovey sentiment? I'm not one, I don't have one, and today brings that point home. It's always on Sunday. I go to church on Sundays. People either avoid me like the plague, or pity me. It's completely awesome. Best feeling ever. Every Mother's Day they hand out flowers and inspirational mothering books to all ladies at the door of the auditorium. Why wouldn't they? 99% of all ladies are either mothers, or have mothers. Our church provides three points of entry into the auditorium. I observe each of them, trying to decide who will pity me less. The one on the right...the elderly couple, who always ask how our adoption process is going? The middle door...Kevin's cousins who strangely have known me my entire life, and knew my Mom? The left door...a couple that is our age, who have learned that asking about the adoption process, which has taken 4 years so far, could mean they listen to another story of adoption disappointment? The lesser of the three evils? There isn't one, as far as I'm concerned. I pick one, then, I approach the door. Every time, the lucky person standing at the door I have reluctantly chosen tries to tell me it's ok for me to receive these items. The looks of pity emerge, and I am stuck trying to explain my way out of this. I never take them. As awkward as I already feel, how am I supposed to pleasantly toodle around carrying these symbols that remind me I am not someone who fits into this day. It makes them feel better to give it to me. It makes me feel better to not take them. It's the most awkward moment of the year. Then, there's my dad. Awkward for him, awkward for me. He wants to help, but talking to him reminds me of how much I just really don't like this day. Then, there's Facebook. EVERYONE posts about Mother's Day. The pictures, the family gatherings, the joys of being and/or having a mother. Oh, to have a Joanna hole that would hide me from this, the most awkward day of the year. If I don't stop blogging, and start getting ready for church, I'm not going to make it on time. Is this entry an avoidance method? In my best Sarah Palin voice...You Betcha! As my husband just pointed out, "It's dark-twisty-Joanna Day" (Grey's Anatomy Meredith reference). I don't want pity, and I don't want people to be uncomfortable around me. I want someone (who would have normally been my mother) say it's going to be ok, and keep moving on with the day as if it's ok for me to not be a mom, or have a mom. Huge sigh...I should go get dressed...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Blogging Intentions and Epiphanies

My intention for this blog is to document and share my experience as I change my eating, exercise, and other lifestyle habits, and become a more holistically healthy person. I was reading other blogs this week, and had epiphany #1. Most blogs have tips for life. The people writing want to help others achieve goals, whether in cooking, exercising, understanding politics, finances, etc. Epiphany #2: I should take the month of June and focus on a topic that is related to health, and make posts twice a week. Epiphany #3: I'll focus on Stress Management. I studied the impact of stress on health quite a bit in grad school. Epiphany #4: Today, I was told my blog is not interesting (after I had this idea), so I'm definitely going to try this new approach. Epiphany #5: I need a new blog host. Blogger doesn't make paragraphs or do line spacing. DRIVING ME CRAZY!! More to come.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

She Was Giggling...Then, She Was Sweating!!

Getting back into my workout routine has reminded my why I enjoy going so much...people watching!! I was on the treadmill, which is on the second floor looking down over the weight machines. LOTS of good people watching from this perch of mine. I'm still only allowed to keep my heart rate under 120, so I'm really only just walking swiftly. Not much concentration needed to "get to the finish line" or make it just that one more minute. I can truly focus on my observation skills, which is favorite hobby of mine! This poor woman. She was wearing a baby blue t-shirt and navy blue capri sweats. She was morbidly obese. Her shoulder length, brown, curly hair was not pulled back, and was still in her "I'm going to work" look. Her trainer...KILLER! Oh boy! This isn't going to go well for this woman. I remind you that I have never completed a full workout with her before getting so dizzy and light-headed I have to stop. Hence the moniker. So, the workout starts and the woman is giggly and excited and happy. By the third exercise, red-faced, out of breath, shaking her arms around as if this will help them feel better, and fading fast. Her workout lasted 20 minutes instead of the full 30. Killer got her too. I applaud this woman for her efforts, and hope she can get out of bed this morning! In other gym news...I have a saying that goes "Once you see something, you can't un-see it. Be careful where you look!" Why I didn't take my own advice, I don't know. The sauna. I walked in, and at first found it humorous. Everyone in there, about 6 or 7 people, was pecking away on their iPhone. I thought saunas were for relaxing, deep breathing, and sweating it out without working it out. That's why I go in there. One, by one, they started to leave. As a natural instinct, I watch people walk out the door. I should change my natural instinct. What I saw on the other side of the door when it opened is now a picture in my head I would like to delete. Completely naked old lady! Saw it all! Front view! Can't take it back! She was standing next to the showers, so I can only assume she was headed that way. Why she couldn't save us from her show of glory by disrobing in the shower stall is beyond me. Also, why blogger won't let me make paragraphs is beyond me. There are some things you just can't explain...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Return

I've got it! Never had it before...not like this anyway! It's a weight lifted, a haze cleared, a struggled defeated! It's healing, freeing, and eye-opening. It's something I never knew I was missing...until now. ENERGY!!! Gone are the days of coffee-filled afternoons just to stay awake. Gone are the days of exhaustion after a long day at work. Gone are the days necessitating Sunday afternoon naps. Not to be confused with a spastic, jittery caffeine high. It's a steady, constant, alertness that doesn't wain. Being gluten-free has revived my entire being. What am I to do with this exciting new phenom? A hobby. Why a hobby? Because, just because :-) Music is my passion, although most who know me today would not know that. Music was my life, my motivation, my muse, my passion. I was innocent...then...I was lead astray. Lead astray by shattered dreams, politics, and heart-breaking disappointment. NO MORE, I SAY!! NO MORE!! "A long, long time ago, I can still remember how that music used to make me smile." Yes, the piano and clarinet have made their call, beckoning redemption. Redemption for years of a passion suppressed. I finally have the energy to play, and I'm gonna do it! I purchased a piano a few months ago, and the musical cobwebs came flying off. I learned to play the piano when I was 4 years old. I could read music before I could read English (well, I guess I could read A, B, C, D, E, F, and G...duh). I am no Vince Guaraldi or Sara Bareilles, but I'm off to a good start, not having played since 6th grade...when I picked up the clarinet. I was MUCH better at the clarinet than I ever was at the piano. And, so, to revive that old flame, I went to the Southlake Community Band rehearsal last night. First time I've played since the last time I played, and that was 19 years ago. Last night was the first time it was fun since the "day the music died" 21 years ago. Don't think I won't keep my eyes peeled for those dream shatter-ers, politicians, and heart-breaking disappointers. I've had my eyes on them for quite some time now. This time, though...this time...I win, you lose! And, without further they are...piano and clarinet!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Mick Has Left The Building

I found out this week that The Mick is no longer training at the gym! WHO LET THAT HAPPEN???!!! Well, ok, he has to have a surgery, then he's going on a one month cruise with his wife. BUT, then, he's not coming back to the gym...sniff, hoo!! I would like to say that it was an absolute privilege to have him as a coach. His wit, his humor, his dirty-old-man behaviors, his knowledge of health and fitness, and his Christianity were all the things that inspired me to remain consistent, especially when I didn't want to. I wish I had a picture of him to share. Maybe I can work on that. My future training is now in the hands of Killer. I started back to the gym this week, and so far have gone once. I am supposed to keep my heart rate under 120, so I stayed on the treadmill for an hour walking. I'll keep doing that for a while, until I can get my stamina back up, and remind my body that it actually can move around more than from bed to couch :-) THEN...and ONLY THEN, will I let Killer back in my fitness life. I am still a bit leary of working out, since the last couple of times before this week ended in what felt like total annihilation because of my low energy issues. I have a couple of friends that go with me to keep me in check. Well, and for the social hour :-) Back to The Mick. My most memorable moment with him will always be the first training session I had, when he stopped mid-sentence of an exercise explanation, to watch blonde-bouncy-booby-babe walk by, then picked up exactly where he stopped in the sentence once she was past. Ahhh...good times :-)