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Gluten-Free Stephie

Did you know that I stopped eating gluten? I stopped eating gluten about a month ago.

We’re not trying to have a baby right now, but we’re talking and planning … and for the first time, I realized that I would have to stop taking all of my daily meds. I don’t take a lot of medicine, but I take stuff for allergies, sleeping … and (in the summer) sweating. I have a friend who sweats even more than I do, and she told me that she found out that her sweating was because of a gluten intolerance. I read up on gluten intolerance symptoms, and so many of them are things that I suffer from (joint pain, anxiety, sleep issues, etc).

I have friends with serious, severe Celiac Disease and I’ve witnessed how hard it is for them. I also used to work in a health food store, where people with gluten allergies have always had to shop until recently, so I’ve been aware of this issue for a long time. I am very, very grateful that I do not have Celiac Disease, so let’s make it clear that I don’t just think of this as a fun experiment. But if there’s any time to try avoiding gluten and find out for myself if this is my problem, it’s now.

These days, people tend to roll their eyes when someone mentions they’re avoiding gluten because they think it is just a fad diet. They bring up the low carb craze and try to mansplain to me that it’s not actually going to help me lose weight. I love telling those people that I wrote my master’s thesis ab0ut the low carb diet and the marketing and advertising behind it, so I fully understand how those diets and fads gain momentum.

However, while avoiding gluten is tied to one fad diet (paleo), it’s also an easy way for grocery stores to bring in an entire segment of people that couldn’t shop at their store before. And because of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, grocery stores need to compete with health food stores more than ever, so they are paying attention. This may stick for a while. I don’t think that stores will keep their giant gluten-free aisles for more than a couple years, but hopefully places will be permanently conscious of carrying gluten-free alternatives.

To be honest, I am eating more paleo than anything these days. Aside from gluten-free pizzas when I go out with friends and the occasional bowl of corn/rice cereal, I haven’t bought any products that are specifically gluten free. I don’t usually buy bread or baked goods anyway. So the only change I’ve really made is that I stopped buying fast food or pigging out on goodies at work. I don’t have to worry about cross-contamination or anything, so while this is by no means an easy lifestyle for people with Celiac, it has been relatively painless for me.

It’s been working, believe it or not. I still sweat in 90-degree weather, that is just science, but I’ve been more comfortable outside recently than most of my friends and I’m not afraid of going out at all. Justin is usually the one to turn on the air conditioning, not me. I don’t need a fan when I’m getting ready in our muggy bathroom. These are huge developments. And because the main reason I’m avoiding gluten is sweating, I’ll be able to slip up occasionally in the winter. I plan on avoiding gluten year-round, but I can still eat stuffing on Thanksgiving or an Easter casserole and suffer through the side effects with minimal discomfort.

I also feel amazing these days, but the fact that I do all of my shopping at the Farmers Market probably has something to do with it. This boost in my mood is much needed because I’m also cutting out sleeping pills and we all know how great that works for me. Shit’s been rough. At least I can take my old friend Benadryl.

My goal to sit up straight this month was serendipitous because work is nuts and I will be spending all month sitting at my desk. Anyway, that’s going well.

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Charlotte

“You have been my friend,” replied Charlotte. “That in itself is a tremendous thing…after all, what’s a life anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die…By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.” ― E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

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I’ve been trying all week to write some beautiful, elegant entry about the past 3 weeks, but then it feels like I’m too detailed, too intimate, too self-absorbed, too wordy. So I’ll just say it.

I watched my Grandma die last week. I sat with her for her last hour on earth. I watched each breath take longer and longer, I saw the panic in her eyes, I told her it was okay, I told her that I loved her, and I held her hand until I felt her let go.

A week earlier, exactly a week earlier, I had a great visit with her. I said goodbye, then popped back into her room – and she was sitting up, having a major stroke. I held her hand during that, too. There was nothing they could do to stop it, so I just sat with her. She cracked joke after joke with a half-frozen face, slurring her words. I was the only person who could understand her. I stayed until she fell asleep.

Part of me feels like this has profoundly changed me–that I’ll appreciate life more or magically become a wiser, better person. The other half can’t believe how natural it all feels, to the point where maybe it hasn’t changed me at all.

I mean, when I lost my dad, the grief was normal and manageable but what I witnessed during the year leading up to that moment messed me up beyond belief. So I have no idea what I’m like right now. I’m not drinking. I’m reading, sleeping and walking a lot. Every time she said goodbye to me, she would say, “Take care of yourself.” So I’m treading lightly.

She was my Dad’s mom. So going through all of her papers and pictures hasn’t just been a reminder about her–it’s been a reminder of my Dad and my Grandpa, too. My Dad’s 70th birthday is coming up, so he was already on my mind. It gets a little overwhelming.

A few days before she died, she hugged me and said, “Thank God he gave us to each other.” That’s all I can think about. I know it was her time; I know it was natural. But it hurts so much. She was so incredible, so funny, so talented, so brave. I could write about her forever. She was one of my best friends. I really just fucking miss her.

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Long Form, Short Fuse

Don’t expend energy in writing and publishing that would be better used in your family or community. Become tempered by life. Make compromises for love. Provide a service to the world.

Sarah Manguso

If anyone needs me, I’m still at Instagram and Tumblr and Twitter. If I’m not there, then I’m obsessively binge-watching Orange Is The New Black and rewatching Orphan Black. You guys. Those shows. Do it.

The internet has been leaving a really bad taste in my mouth lately. Not all of it; mainly just blogs and Facebook. The majority of the blogs I read have evolved into a sort of “I don’t understand this thing so I’m going to bitch about how it’s stupid” attitude (and I’m sure I have too; shit’s contagious). I have trouble reading that stuff. I want to comment on it, to tell people they’re wrong, to ask why they care if they’ve never been there/done that, but if they have enough energy to bitch about something for 500 words then they certainly have no problem arguing with me*. And I can’t tell them to not care if I care that they care. You know? Anyway.

And Facebook is just, like, a shitty family arguing about politics and social issues at the dinner table 24/7. We shouldn’t be allowed to interact like that with every person we’ve ever met all at once, you guys. And even though I try so hard to avoid commenting and getting myself in trouble/unfriended, I just watch it happen and seethe. And it’s not even Republican/racist/religious stuff! It’s like, nice stuff posted by people who RSVP’d to my wedding and didn’t show up. “Oh, a picture of flowers? SCREW YOU.”**

All the negativity is making me sick to my stomach and it’s also making me a bad person. So I’m just trying to stay away for a while, sticking to little snippets and jokes and a little bitching, but just 140-character baby bitching.

I’m finally able to run again, thanks to my dad’s old podiatrist/roommate. I can’t run long distances yet because I took such a long break, so I’m finally able to build up my speed without tiring myself out. Just a couple 10-minute miles a day along with some walking. And p90x in the evenings. These 2-a-days aren’t helping me lose weight faster, but they’re making me feel amazing and helping me sleep like a baby, so Imma keep it up.

I realized that next year will be this blog’s 10-year anniversary, so I’m not ready to give it up just yet. Just … taking a vacation in a few other spots, is all, until I have something of substance to say. Come find me! I’m fun over there.

*Erin probably thinks this is referring to her post about not believing in fibromyalgia, and it’s not. It is a little bit about her cool friend who called me a “retard”  in the comments, though.

**I don’t usually lord this over people, but I went to a wedding when my dad was on hospice and I had a top secret emergency plan in place in case he died that day (which included Erin, thanks girl) because when you RSVP that means YOU SHOW UP.

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Warrior One

My PTSD about my dad is back with a vengeance. I’m learning that it gets the worst in the summer because weather can be the easiest trigger, and that’s when I really took care of him and things got super traumatizing. So I have at least another month of this.

Life is so much easier when you understand exactly what is happening to you emotionally and physically. More important, it’s easier when you understand why. Even if it’s just PMS or being tired. Even if it’s full-blown depression. It’s a chance to be proactive or give yourself permission to cocoon up and rest.

Justin is gone several nights in a row again, and I hurt my ankle so I can’t go to the Y and run. (It will probably be safe to walk in a couple weeks and I will; I just have a history of not waiting long enough for these things to get better.)

Anyway, my way of coping for the longest time was just, like, wine and Totino’s and a Netflix marathon. But I’m trying to read and cook time-consuming-yet-healthy dinners and do p90x, which I couldn’t bring myself to do last time around but now that I can’t go to the Y, it’s nice to have.

I need to just make an effort to spend time with friends on those nights but it’s so hot and I’m so tired and emotionally drained from all of this. It’s not something I can really talk about with friends because they treat it like I’m still deeply grieving after 3 years and that’s not what PTSD is about at all. The last thing I need is someone talking to me like I’m a little kid, which is what a lot of my friends tend to do for some reason. Anyway. I’m fragile but I know I’ll snap out of it when the weather changes.

I’m doing fine about the big move; I automatically stuck memories of the house into that big box in the back of my brain where I keep memories of my dad, my grandpa and my dog. Do you guys have a box like that? One where small memories and stories escape and it’s okay, but you never open it up and look inside because everything floods out and it would hurt too much? Anyway, 908 is there.

Marriage is awesome. I suppose right now we’re starting to talk about getting a bigger place, and that will eventually lead to babies, so maybe in a month or so I will be like OH MY GOD JUSTIN STOP MAKING CHARTS AND JUST PICK A HOUSE GAH but for now I am really digging marriage and I feel so lucky that Justin is my husband.

I will try to tell you all about our trip to Iceland soon. Is there anything else you want me to write about? Random requests really help me get off of my ass, so to speak.

I love you guys.

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Breaking Bride

Sorry for the lack of posts; I am getting RILL sick of talking about myself.

7 more weeks of answering questions and harassing people and stressing about literally every worst case scenario, then an avalanche of Iceland pictures, and then hopefully I will get back to regular blogging about … home renovations? Recipes? Fertility? What the hell do married people blog about? (I keed, but really. Nothing will be as interesting as when I was single; sorry.)

My RSVP due date is aligning nicely with my PMS, resulting in some hilarious silent rage and borderline passive-aggressive texts on my end.

Meanwhile I have been doing a lot of “Blogging for Lazy People” aka Tumblr.* You can find me at secretlystephie.tumblr.com.

Mortified Monday update: I haven’t really lost weight but I’ve been noticing some serious Michelle Obama muscles on my arms and I actually wore size 6 skinny jeans without being run out of town with pitchforks. So maybe that “muscle weighs more than fat” thing isn’t just a lie that I tell myself when I’m fat? Anyway, these days I have enough teeth bleach and spray tan in my system to feel pretty in spite of my weight, so whatever.

*I don’t want to hear your sass, Erin; rebloggling is lay-zay.

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The Dave Painting

Last weekend, my work friends and I threw a surprise 30th birthday party for our friend Ben. 90% of the hilarity that ensued is based on inside jokes or Breaking Bad humor (homemade blue rock candy, anyone?), but I need to tell you about Dave’s painting.

Dave and his wife hosted the party in their gorgeous new house, and he mentioned some of the things that he found in the move. Many of my co-workers have known each other for at least a decade, so when he mentioned the painting they all cracked up. But since Justin, Liz and I are a little new to the party, he told us the story.

Dave had a cleaning lady who would sometimes buy him strange presents. “But she wouldn’t give them to me; she would just put them on my mantel or nightstand.” When he would ask her about them, she would just say, “Oh, I thought that would look nice there.”

“Then,” Dave said, “She just started rearranging my furniture? Like full rooms. Without asking.”

“And then I guess I left some pictures of me laying around? Old ones,” he continued. “And then one day, she said, ‘I painted this for you.'”

And then

she gave

him this:

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.
Did she sign it? No. She kissed the back:

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“AAAAAND that’s when I fired her.”

P.S. Look at Kim’s Bencakes!

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Things I Am Afraid Will Happen On My Wedding Day

  • Conversations about politics.
  • Someone freaks out about my “something blue“.
  • My fake tooth falls out.
  • My dress rips.
  • My Grandma dies.
  • Grandma calls me fat.
  • Grandma calls one of my friends fat.
  • Grandma sees Erin and Rachael’s tattoos, then dies.
  • Our family members’ reaction to Rob. Any reaction. This will be weird.
  • My parents’ friends try to “save” my friends who are gay.
  • I cry my fake eyelashes off in front of everyone.
  • I spend my whole wedding like I always spend weddings: drunk on the smoking patio.
  • Grandma will ask my bosses to give me a raise.
  • I TRIP WHILE WALKING DOWN THE AISLE NOOO
  • I pull a, “Take thee, Rachel” even though I’m not in love with someone else.
  • I develop gall bladder stones and have to get my gall bladder removed.
  • I develop kidney stones and have to pee them out on my wedding day.
  • I develop Tourettes at the alter. Like, all of a sudden.
  • Tony, Peter or Teets ends up hitting on my boss.
  • My sister-in-law says something that puts one of my friends in therapy for years.
  • My cousin’s husband calls everything “gay”.
  • Frank and Erik do a scathing review of my wedding on their podcast. “Two tall, handsome thumbs DOWN.”
  • The wedding venue is bombed by North Korea.
  • Tony sees my friends and starts telling incredibly dated “hipster jokes”.
  • Ty farts just as we are all walking down the aisle.
  • Someone gets in a car accident.
  • Someone has a seizure.
  • Someone has a heart attack.
  • Liz’s speech is embarrassing. (I am not worried about Jen’s speech.)
  • Justin’s family somehow ends up in East St. Louis.
  • My mothers-in-law catch me having a cigarette.
  • My hair. Just, you know, in general.
  • The DJ makes an error and I have to walk down the aisle to “Fergalicious.”
  • My bosses talk to someone who once made a gravity bong on my porch.
  • Someone offers to pray for the bride and groom and ends up speaking in tongues.
  • Adam throws in a final “big boobs” joke before I am wed, ending a 20-year tradition.
  • I get pregnant before the big day (even though I am clearly still a virgin).
  • Someone insults the Indiana Hoosiers; a tall, polite riot ensues.

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