Saturday, January 8, 2011

7 Quick Takes: Discipline and Diets and Dreams


Wednesday night I was up until past midnight finishing up this post on Cooking Nick's Books: A Sparks Fan's Food Blog. That in itself was probably unwise, since I get up at 5 am to get myself and my kids ready for school, and I really should be well-rested before facing a room full of three-year-olds. What made it worse was deciding to make myself a nice strong cup of chai at 9 pm and drink the whole thing. I felt surprisingly good on Thursday, considering I was awake almost all night, although the next time I'm in the mood for chai tea at night I'll have decaffeinated cinnamon apple spice instead.


When I finally got up at 3:30 am to start my day, I made a list of things I need to get done BEFORE I do any more blogging:

--Finish writing the thank-you notes to friends and family for my Christmas gifts
--Do some real long-term planning for my preschool class; and
--Make plans for the next few weeks in my CCD class, and try and plan some activities that are more fun than what's in the textbook and the teacher's manual.

I told myself I could post this blog when I'm finished with my thank-you notes. Guess what? I'm not finished with them. I'll get them in the mail on Saturday. I hope.


I think I've picked my New Year's resolution: to finally go gluten-free, or at least mostly so. When I was little I was diagnosed with celiac disease, and there were many things I couldn't tolerate, gluten being just one of them. I couldn't eat anything with sugar in it, although honey and molasses were fine. I also couldn't tolerate animal fat; I couldn't eat bacon (how did I survive?) and my mother had to trim the fat off of every piece of meat she bought. Forget about going to McDonald's. Mom tells a story about how her mother-in-law thought she was being overprotective of me, and all this talk about me not being able to eat all this stuff was just ludicrous. When I got violently ill from eating cornbread my grandmother had cooked with lard, she was finally convinced my intolerances were real.

Anyway, for years I've been eating anything and everything with no ill effects. I've known in the back of my mind that celiac would eventually return, but so far it hasn't seemed to. My parents send me links about celiac all the time, and I read them and ponder what the experts are saying about it, and put them in the back of my mind. But the truth is that even though I feel just fine, I could be damaging my system and could wind up with osteoporosis and all kinds of other problems.

If anyone out there has any advice, recipes, or recommendations on gluten-free foods that taste good, I'd love to hear from you! I like Amy's Organic Rice Mac & cheese, and the other day I decided to try Glutino spinach and feta pizza (thinking it would probably taste like cardboard) and you know what? It's pretty good, as long as I eat the whole thing. (The slice I reheated today for lunch wound up in the garbage.) And last week I bought a small box of gluten-free Bisquick, although I haven't been brave enough to try making anything with it. I'm thinking of this as an adventure of sorts.


So I suppose the next part of my resolution for 2011 (besides getting more exercise) should be to get myself to a specialist for some sort of testing and real expert advice. Maybe they'll tell me I'm doing just fine and I can eat whatever I want.


If and when I'm mostly gluten-free, do you know what I will miss most? If you said "bread," you're wrong. Oh, sure, I will be plenty tempted when I pull a fresh steaming loaf from the bread machine to cut myself a big hunk and slather it with butter and eat it. But at the end of a long day when I want to pop open a cold one and I can't? I just might cry.

And when I make this banana cake for Larry's fourteenth (Fourteenth!!) birthday, I know I'll just HAVE to try a slice. Just a small one. And the Body of Christ? I'm not planning on giving that up.


On Thursday afternoon Curly's basketball team had an away game at a Catholic school about thirty minutes away. The church was open, so while we were waiting for the game to start, I decided to wander over to take some photos for a Get Thee to the Church post. The Church was beautifully decorated for Christmas, and there was a beautiful creche right in the vestibule. There were a couple of people quietly sitting in the pews, and I hoped it wouldn't bother them if I walked around for a minute or two and took some pictures. I noticed the Easter candle right in front, and wondered why it wasn't off to the side. I figured that maybe there had been a funeral earlier in the day. Just as I was pulling my camera out of its case, some people began bringing wreaths of flowers into the church, and other people all dressed in black began to trickle in as well. I put my camera away and slunk out of the church feeling out-of-place and tacky. So I won't have a Get Thee to the Church post this week, although I was able to snap a picture of their outdoor shrine for Our Blessed Mother before it got dark.

I only wished I had some fresh roses with me to help cheer up those sad-looking ones.


I don't often tell people about my dreams, mostly because I don't remember them. There was one I had earlier this week that stuck with me, though:

I'm in a room--in a school, I think--and a tiny girl toddles past the doorway wearing a white dress. I step into the hallway, and notice that behind her is a seemingly endless stream of people; a procession of some kind. In front are little children, some so young they're just learning to walk. As the parade passes, the people in it are steadily older: young children, then teenagers, then adults; and the last people to walk past are elderly and need to lean on one another for support. Some appear to be married couples and are holding hands. Some are carrying flags, and all seem very excited about wherever they were going. Everyone is smiling, some are singing, others are talking excitedly among themselves. All of the people in the procession, from the little toddlers to the senior citizens, have Down's Syndrome.

It was both strange and beautiful-- I don't think my dreams mean anything most of the time, but I'm wondering if there was a message in this one. Any thoughts?

Last night I dreamed a big production company asked me to audition to play Nellie in South Pacific. I have no acting experience, mind you. I showed up and wowed everyone with a fabulous rendition of "Honey Bun" and they instantly loved me.

Check out Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!


  1. My church is going to have a separate line for the gluten-free wafers.... Ummmm A) that is the tiniest little wafer and B) if these people really believed in what they were putting on their tongue, why would they feel compelled to lobby for a gluten-free option?

    Good for you!

  2. Thanks! I've heard of people leaving the Church because they weren't offer a gluten-free Host. It's my understanding that the Eucharist must be made from wheat, according to Church doctrine, and in order to make it gluten-free they'd have to make it from something else. I could be wrong, though; and if the Eucharist looks and tastes like bread, I'd think it would probably act like it once it was in your system. I don't know. Anyway, my other option would be to opt only for the blood, but that isn't always offered.

  3. I am sorry to hear about your diet restrictions.

    I would not like live without bread or beer...

    And definitely could not live without the Body of Christ.


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