Adventures in Gluten (and Sugar) Freedom from a southern blogger chick!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Soup for 100

Tonight I felt like I was in a chapter of the book Stone Soup. You remember that book, where the guy starts out with a rock and some water, and all his friends brough stuff to make a good soup.

Well I brought the pot, two onions, some old celery, and a bag of Tinkyada fusili. And I still have a large container of soup left, after feeding 83 people and sending a gracious plenty home with two different people.

So here's the short version of the story. I made a minnestrone soup for the Relay For Life Kickoff, which my class always plans and fundraises, and the soup is what the team had on the menu. I'm Italian, and that's an easy one. Two of my classes brough in stuff for the food for tonight, and a few of us made the food. Shoutout to the early cooking crew: Georgia, Rachel, Lindsey, Katie, and Mallory Jones, chopper extraordinaire.

The hard part? Not tasting the food with gluten (three pans of homemade Monkey Bread that Rachel, Georgia, and Katie assembled as I drooled). We did the soup and the spinach dip, and then I let them get to work on the stuff with Gluten.

OK, so to the soup: It was awesome. I was suprised, but it was really good. So here is the recipe for the minnestrone soup I made tonight.

This is scaled down for a big pot of soup.

2 cans of chicken or veggie broth (about a quart of broth)
2 cans of Italian spiced diced tomatoes (around 28 ounces)
one chopped red (or yellow) onion and a half cup chopped celery
1 can each kidney and garbanzo beans
1 can green beans (drained)
1 can drained diced potatoes
2 fresh zucchini, sliced thin

Sautee the onion and zucchini in olive oil and then add all the canned stuff. Season with salt, pepper, garlic salt, and a generous pinch of Italian seasoning (about 2 t.).

Simmer for a couple of hours on the stove. Turn it off, add 1 - 2 cups of Tinkyada fusili and let stand for about 20 minutes. Soup will be perfectly thick and the pasta will al dente (and not mushy at all).

Correct seasoning. Before serving, sprinkle with some grated parmesan cheese.

Much love, and I'm going to drop into a sleepy heap now.

Ging the soup meister

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The end of the semester (A Sunday Blessing)

I tried to think of something positive to say about the end of the semester, and here it is:

Next Tuesday, Dec. 4, the semester will be over. Finally.

That's all i got :-)

Much love,

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Now what?

Happy Thanksgiving ya'll. I have plenty of food and leftovers I've made in the fridge, and we had a good time at Pam and Pat's house (where we usually go if in Milledgeville).

The day was not without catastrophe.
•I fell asleep and while I was napping, the water burned out of the lima beans (I have done this before) so it smelled like a fire scene in here -- AND I had to recreate the lima/corn veggies I was bringing.
•My breadmaker "threw up" and the risen dough was all down the side and on the element. I took the dough basket out, loaded the dough into muffin tins, and made rolls. They were good. I think they'll make good ham sandwiches.
•I'm not sure I didn't get glutenated at lunch, but not on purpose. I checked ingredients on all I ate, but I don't know what was on the counter...etc. I feel very yucky now.

Jeffrey had two dinners -- one at his Dad's, one at Pam's -- and got to swim in the hot tub and play cops and robbers with some of his younger friends. We played poker, and I won the final hand, which was about seven bucks. Full house, Kings and Queens.

So we're home. Randy is snoring in the chair, I feel sketchy and am heading to the Pepto and Milk of Magnesia.

I have no pictures. I have some leftovers. And the day is over.

But Much Love and happy day.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thai Chicken and Rice

One of my students, Aubrey Nazarro, is a budding young chef, and made me this wonderful dish when I was out with my surgery. With all the talk of Thanksgiving, I thought it might be nice to have a dish that DIDN'T taste of poultry seasoning or pumpkin this week (Flaming Turkey Rolls!)

Aubrey's Gluten-FreeThai Chicken and Rice

White jasmine, texmati, or other white rice
2 tablespoon light vegetable or peanut oil
1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts
1 onion (optional), cut bite size
2 red bell peppers, cut bite size
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
Gluten free soy sauce
Gluten free hoisin sauce
Hot Thai chili paste
1 green onion sprig, chopped fine
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup salted peanuts (optional)
A handful of cilantro (optional)
Start rice according to package directions.

Heat oils in large non-stick skillet or wok over high heat. Add the garlic to the hot oil, and watch it carefully so it doesn̢۪t burn. Cut chicken into thin strips and chop into bite-sized pieces. Add chicken and stir fry until golden, 2-3 minutes. Push chicken off to sides of the skillet, and add onions and peppers to the center of the pan. Stir-fry 2-3 minutes, then combine with meat.

Toss a good drizzle of soy sauce, about 4 tablespoons of hoisin sauce, and Thai chili paste (according to your taste) into the mix, as well as the chopped green onion and the basil leaves. Once the leaves have wilted, remove from heat and serve over rice. Garnish with chopped, salted peanuts and cilantro.

It was delicious, and I didn't get glutened. I hated to finish it all up, so I might have to make some more myself.

Much love, and happy Monday!


Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Thankful Meme (A Sunday Blessing)

I have been planning this all week!

All right, all you readers with blogs of your own. I am tagging you and starting this meme, called
"!0 Things I'm Thankful For This Year" Now I don't know why they call it a "Meme," but there was one going around last summer and, though I didn't get tagged, they called it a "meme." So it's a "meme."

I think it is important to remember the good stuff, since the bad stuff seems to weigh us down so much.

So get on those blogs and tell the world why you're thankful this year! And TAG your friends who read your blog. In the end, we'll have HUNDREDS of things to rejoice about, instead of being sad or upset.

10 things I'm thankful for this yea, in no particular order:

1. That I don't have cancer
2. That after going gluten free, I feel better than I've felt in seven years.
3. That I have my Dad. He is 84. (I'm sad today because Martha Stewart's Mother died. They were real close.)
4. That I have my Jeffrey, the best kid in the world.
5. That Tinkyada makes pasta. And Kinnickinick makes cookies like Oreos. And Trader Joe's makes Ginger Snaps. AND THAT JIMMY JOHNSON WON THE NEXTEL CUP FOR THE SECOND YEAR IN A ROW! (OK, I just added that!)
6. That we had a wonderful time on our family cruise in July.
7. That I have new babies in my life -- Hendley, Addison, and soon, Tyler.
8. That people actually think my blog is funny. And some people said it helps them. And that I've made friends like Kate, and Carrie, and Steve, and Ginger of the North, and Aleksandra, and Carol, and Cassandra from it. Oh, and The Gluti Girls and Lori in Atlanta.
9. and 10. That I've got Randy. I'm so thankful for him, he's worth two spaces!

Now you do it! Remember why you're thankful this year! if you don't have a blog, post it in the comments. If you don't post in the comments, write it on a piece of paper and stick it to your refigerator!

Much love to you all!

A post-scipt: As soon as I posted this and re=read it, I realized that I could keep adding to it for hours and hours. I am blessed with many, many wonderful friends. I didn't mention OLD friends by name, only new GF blogger friends. It was a sin of omission, I promise you. I could easily start with the wonderful friends with names that begin with the letter J.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

More thoughts on Thanksgiving

Thanks to all my friends -- both GF and gluten-eating -- i have finally figured out why I'm dreading Thanksgiving so much.

1. It's a holiday solely centered on food -- food that generally I can't eat. Food that I tend to love.

2. It's my FIRST major holiday since going GF.

3, People just don't naturally think to prepare GF food on this holiday, unless they're the ones who are GF. So I have low expectations that food at my friend's house will be stuff I can eat (I am hoping for deviled eggs, potato salad, vegetables. I am hoping the ham is GF. But no mac and cheese, no stuffing, probably no sweet potatoes, and no desserts).

4. I want someone to cook for me. I want to contribute to the meal, but I don't want to cook it all unless I have a table full of people. I am at least blessed that Randy would take me ANYWHERE to dinner if they'd feed me like I needed to be fed.

5. I'm not-so-secretly bummed because I was invited to a totally GF Thanksgiving Feast in Atlanta today, and I couldn't go because Jeffrey's been sick. I think that has been the straw. I was going there, then to Trader Joe's and then to Whole Foods. Instead I'm sitting here watching stupid food shows thinking how I can convert the gluten.

So I'm trying to get a new attitude. I'm leaning toward our still going to Pam's. I'll ask a few questions before I go but I'll pack most of my own meal. I'm going to make the green bean casserole (I test drove the GF one last night,) and I'm going to make myself a BIG pan of dressing (actually, a tiny pan for me to eat at her house, and a pan for us here). I'm also going to make two turkey breast rolls we have in the freezer. I haven't decided about sweet potatoes yet. I'll probably make my congealed salad (because it is so easy). And I willt make some other vegetables, depending on when we're eating. Nothing fancy. I won't spend all day in the kitchen while Randy watches TV and plays Scrabble online. And I'll have some leftovers. He'll get a full meal with all the goodies.

Come to think of it, I'm also going to make a crustless pecan pie and a carrot cake. Yeah. I have all the stuff. I don't need much sweets. Just a little.

And while eating out is always risky, I am going to go more for the social interaction than the food. That is a skill I need to learn.

Truth be told, I have invited EVERYONE I could to our house so we could have a normal looking holiday. My logic was I could make a totally GF meal for everyone, and I'd have my social situation too. It was actually worth it to me to do this. Sadly, no one will come. My Dad and Mary had already made other plans when I asked them; so had another set of friends. And my friend Jess is too bogged down with school projects to come visit. ALL understandable reasons.

So I will do my version of this for Randy and me (Jeffrey won't eat most of this stuff and may be at his Dad's).

But to my gluten-eating friends, I say, YOU try this. There is nothing as frustrating as walking into a social food situation and finding there is nothing you can eat at all. Or having someone tell you, while everyone else is eating hot snacks and sandwiches and such, "well, there's fruit."

And to quote my GF blogger friend Alexandra I should focus this year on how thankful I am -- thankful that I don't have cancer, thankful that I'm feeling better since going GF, thankful that I have ALL OF YOU. Yeah.

It's midnight, and it's time for me to check out of this pity party (thanks, Cassandra. I love that).

I'm going to bake some cornbread for dressing. Jess, you inspired me.

Much love, and I'm working on that bad attitude.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thanksgiving. Angst. Would you like some WHINE with that Turkey

All my gluten free friends are swapping recipes and posting menus on their blogs, and I've been thinking about Thanksgiving a lot.

I have a horrible confession to make.

I hate Thanksgiving. It causes me great angst.

This all stems back to the fact that when I was a kid, we rarely did the big "Thanksgiving Day" and I rarely remember Thanksgiving with extended family (last one I remember was when I was in college -- we went to Connecticut in 1974 and 1976).

I spent most of my youthful TDays at Morrison's Cafeteria or the Holiday Inn Buffet. Once in a while my Mom would cook, but there was always so much angst attached to it -- fights over turkey temperature, etc. I mostly laid on the floor and watched the parades. In about 1975, my Mom concocted a "new" family dinner consisting of Countryside Chicken Bake and Yam Baskets Louisianne. She also served corn pudding from the Southern Living cookbook from that. I inherited the tattered, faded recipes for those. I still love those recipes.

Thanksgiving was a big deal in my ex's family, and his mother always killed the fatted turkey for the whole crew. I hated not spending Thanksgiving with my parents, but his folks invited them over, and we all had dinner together. Once in a while I cooked at our house. It was a huge, angst-filled production. That went on for a long, long time. It was OK when we could bring home extra dressing -- I would just open a can of Ocean Spray and I would be happy. But most of it was angst. (I remember really enjoying cooking in 1983. I was in Germany. I was proud of that meal. And one or two in the late 80s, maybe. 1997 we had a lot of fun. But I digress.)

That's it. To me, Thanksgiving meals are a lot of angst. I HATE cooking for Thanksgiving. There. I said it.

The perfect Thanksgivings for the past four years have been with Randy. We always go to someone else's house (Usually my friend Pam, who has a great, crazy family). We bring home leftovers. (Pam doesn't mind sending us home with food). And I don't have to do much work. I have a lot of great home cookin and have fun! And I bring home food in exchange for a side dish or two.

So we're invited to Pam's again, but this year, I'm GF, and this lunch is fraught with cross-contamination danger. Randy said we should just stay here, but I just don't want to cook what I want to eat!

If I have to cook, I'd make turkey breast, my Southern Cornbread Dressing, and a GF modified green bean casserole. But that's about it. And Randy won't eat the green bean casserole. There would be corn. I might make some frozen/refrigerated mashed potatoes. Maybe. But if I mostly want to eat at someone's house, I don't want to have to bring the food I'll eat with me. I can't eat her turkey (she makes a rockin turkey) because she stuffs it, which causes cross contamination. I don't know what is in the glaze of the ham, so I don't know if it's GF. I know all the desserts are out. My favorite food is dressing. Can't have none of that. To me, the greatest thing about Thanksgiving is leftover dressing and that can of Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce.

I guess the bottom line is -- I want someone to cook for me for Thanksgiving. And now, I can't get anything that resembles it without doing it myself. Which I don't want to do.

This is so dreadful! I love food, and I love cooking, and I am THANKFUL, but the thought of making Thanksgiving dinner this year just drives me nuts. I guess I'm feeling a little sad. I can't have my Thanksgiving and eat it, too, anymore.

I'll get over it. I promise. Don't worry, honey. I won't let you starve.

Much love, and I'm sorry I'm so WHINY

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

United Nations World Diabetes Day Nov. 14, 2007

I have type II diabetes, and have lived with it since 1991.

Millions of people around the world have diabetes -- both type I and type II, diagnosed and undiagnosed -- and today is a day in their honor.

I am one of 246 million people in the world who have diabetes, and our ranks will grow in the next 20 years to more than 380 million. Alarming. Frightening. Dangerous.

This is a reminder to encourage your family members to check regularly for diabetes during doctor bloodwork. All it takes is a simple blood test, but it can save your life.

Believe me when I say I wish I'd been more attentive to my problems when I was first diagnosed. Because of complications of my causation, I am now legally blind in my right eye and have significant stomach and digestive problems because of diabetic neuropathy. My dear aunt has lost her leg and in on dialysis because of her complications.

All it takes is a simple blood test and care.

In honor of the day, and thinking ahead to Thanksgiving, here's one of my favorite sugar-free, gluten-free dishes. It was one of the first I learned.

Cool Pineapple Jell-0 Mold

1 small box of sugar free Jell-O (SF Black Cherry and Cranberry are good. So is Orange)
1 large can of crushed pineapple
1 cup of buttermilk (nonfat is good here)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Boil Jell-O powder with pineapple in a saucepan. Add the buttermilk. Stir in the nuts. Pour into mold.
Chill til firm and serve.
Can be easily doubled and placed in a 13 by 9 pan and cut into squares for serving.

Believe it or not, it makes a beautiful cream-like Jell-O congealed salad. Perfect for those of us who can't make Jell-O.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

News items of note to the Gluten Free (and others)

The morning news today was filled with health information. If you didn't see it, I thought it was interesting and want to alert you to the media.

1. Beware of sodium-infused chicken. A new report points out that just because chicken is labeled "all natural" doesn't mean that it is free of additives. Many/most chicker purveyors (like Perdue, which was shown many times) add a solution of salt water (brine) to the chicken to make it moister and plumper (and, this will also preserve it better).

The report said that a four ounce chicken breast has more sodium than a large order of McDonald's fries. Holy crap!

And, this additive is not labeled, so you might not know it.

Add this to shocking tales of chicken abuse (I watched Chicken Run the other night -- gotta love a movie with a lead character named "Ginger") and the fact that chicken parts can come from diseased chickens (ewwwww) and it makes me wonder if any chicken breast is safe.

You can tell if a chicken has been injected with this solution. It is tender and very uniform when cooked. It won't get dry and stringy. Natural, organic, hormone free chicken can be decidedly UNtasty stuff.

Solution? Read the labels, friend, and question everything. I have started buying organic chicken, or at least whole chickens that are not packaged in flashy packages.

2. Beware of carbon-dioxide treated beef -- especially ground beef. I've talked about this before (See "A trip to the Abattoir") but a senate committee will be discussing this today. Beef produces you CO2 to enhance the color of beef, making it shelf-stable (and red) longer than it probably should be. This is an issue especially with ground meat, but it applies to any meat that is cut.
Solution: A lot of people have already given up beef, but it can still be safe. READ the labels and buy organic when you can. It is not more expensive (contrary to popular opinion) and it is healthier for you. Buy it and freeze it for optimal use.

3. Women with hourglass shapes (big hips and small waists) are healthier and now, apparently, smarter too. I am so SOL. of course, whom did they use for their example? J-Lo and Shakira. Please.

Of course, I am shaped more like this, i.e. straight up and down (but much thicker):

Much love, and I hope you have a great day, and watch that chicken and beef!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Happy Anniversary to Randy and ME! (More than a Sunday Blessing)

Two years ago today, Randy and I got married. With the birth of my son, Jeffrey, our wedding day ties for the honor of happiest day of my life.

I'd been unhappily married before -- we tried, we really did. But on this second wedding day, I felt none of the apprehension or anxiety I felt that first time.

I knew it was right. I still know it's right, in spite of the 410 mile distance. You see, like they said in Sex and the City, you get two chances at GREAT love in your life. And mine came along on a stroll back from the theater in New York City in 2003. Like getting smacked in the head by a two by four.

Those of you who were there remember what a beautiful day our wedding day was -- perfect fall weather, like today -- and how Allen's Market was packed with 100 people. All the flowers were beautiful, the music and readings were so sweet, and we had more fun than should be allowed on such a special, sacred day. It was PERFECT.

So there have been bumps in the past two years -- can't get a job in Tampa, problems with health, etc. -- there has also been much joy. I wouldn't trade a minute of it, even with the six-hour commute. Randy is worth every mile I drive to see him.

Randy wrote me a poem today on my Facebook wall. I had to share it because -- it's all about me and contains tons of inside references.!

You're the top!
You're Penzey's Spice team.
You're the top!
You're Blue Bell ice cream.
You're a Broadway tune that is crooned by Stokes.
You're a Chico's spree,
And gluten-free,
You're Bobby Flay.
You're armadillo cake.
You're Jimmy Choo heels
Jimmie Johnson on wheels.
I'm Nana's cookies, stale soda pop,
But if, honey, I'm the bottom you're the top!

I simply cannot top that. I can't.

But I did write

A recipe for happiness with the man I will always love:

Take one closet full of color-coded jerseys
Combine with a pit stop at Ellis Bros. Pecans
Mix in a quick run to the Original Lee Roy Selmon's for RIBS!
And a trip to the fruit stand for some pineapple.
Add a dash of obsessive weekend football viewing
And trips together all around the world.
Temper it with the frustration of a long-distance romance
but add a hint of humor and patience to balance out the flavor.
Stir up OFTEN and with VIGOR
And you have us: Not perfect, perhaps, but still a damn good mix.

or to quote Don Richardson at our wedding, who quoteth "The Princess Bride":

I asked the Lord of Permanent Affection for the strength to live through the day. [He said], “Mawidge is a dweam of wuv, twuw wuv, wapped wiffin the gweater dweam of everwasting west. Wemember that and wuv wiw fowwow you fowever.”

Happy Anniversary, Randy. Do you really know how much I love you? We might not live together all the time under one roof, but we love together always, with one heart.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bison Chili

Kroger was having a crisis of space yesterday and marked down all its ground bison meat to $1.99 a pound. I don't know if you've ever ventured to Ted's Montana Grill (or some other establishment that sells the humble buffalo) but ground bison is extraordinarily lean meat and very tasty. It's not treated with hormones, is antibiotic free, and wasn't due to expire until after Thanksgiving.

I bought five packages! And two are now the base of some Bison Chili.

Actually, Friday morning is my favorite time of the week to go to the store. That's when they mark down all the produce and organic dairy -- and I almost always come away with a savings of $30 or so on products that are marked down for weekend space, not because they're expired. For example, I've gotten organic eggs for $1.45 a dozen. Eggs last a LONG time past their expiration date -- so I stock up. And Pom juice -- I got a gallon of the stuff yesterday for the cost of two bottles. I love it. Ask at your store when they do they serious marking down -- my Kroger is on Friday and Saturday morning. I make a special trip.

Today's a big football day if you didn't know it. Auburn v. Georgia. Two years ago, Randy and I got married on the day of the Auburn - Georgia game, and as a wedding present to us, Auburn won (or Georgia lost, you choose) in the last few minutes. I am still appreciative to my UGA friends for giving that to me as a wedding gift. Very sweet.

But back to the chili. Right now it's simmering away in the Crock Pot with tomatoes, on its way to being Bison Chili. Here's how I make Chili in the Crock Pot that is so easy, you'll do it all the time.

Bison Chili in the Crock Pot

1 large onion, diced very finely (I used my food processor since it was already being used for chicken salad this morning)
2 T. Sliced jarred jalepanos.
1 T. jarred garlic
2 pound ground bison OR ground sirloin or round. This will not work with a beef with less than 93 percent lean! It will puddle up in fat and be tres yucky.
3 14 oz cans of tomatoes, diced. I varied the flavors -- sweet onion, etc.
1 package of Texas Chili seasoning (you can use Carroll Shelby brand. I had a package my brother in law Ron sent me for my birthday.

Cpmbine all ingredients in the Crock Pot and simmer high for four hours.

Wait. No browning the beef? I've learned in just the last six months that you don't have to brown extra lean ground beef -- in fact, it seems to be jucier (and not as boring) if it cooks in a tomato sauce like this. You won't have the fat, but you will have the deep, rich sauce.

When the chili is done, here is where my husband and I part company: Beans. I love pinto beans in my chili. Others love red kidney. My husband considers it herasey to put beans in chili. He is a Texan through and through.

So he's not here. I'll add two cans of pintos, drained and rinsed, in about four hour -- or about half time of the Georgia Auburn game. But I am going to make some GF fusili this afternoon, and serve my chili on mac with cheddar. Yum.

Much love, and I WILL give a War Damn Eagle for my team on my blog (you Dawg fans do it all the time on yours). And no, Dawg fans, I'll talk no smack here until the end arrives. You see, I remember last year....
But I will do a little cheer!

Bodygetta Bodygetta Bodygetta Bah
Rah Rah Rah
Sis Boom Bah
Weagle Weagle
War Damn Eagle
Kick em in the butt, Big Blue

AU Class of '79

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen...A new look for GFINGF

Introducing the designs of Cooper Dobbs van Rossum.
Thanks, Cooper. Take a bow.
Cooper is one of my most talented (ever) advertising students, and he graciously designed my new logo.
I think the new header design is great. I hope you do, too.

Much love, and aren't my students the BEST?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Pumpkin Mouse

Cheers to my bud Kate for this idea! YAY. it's my first GF TDay so I need inspiration. You inspire my, mi amiga!

I remember once editing a story about "Chocolate Mousse" and the student kept spelling it mouse. I thought of it when I got a card today from the American Cancer Society, thanking me for all my volunteer work for Relay For Life.

In it was a recipe I decided I would make for dessert for Thanksgiving. I think Randy will like it better than pumpkin pie, and I know I had something like this last year at Pam's house and loved it. I adapted it to GF very easily with yummy Trader Joe's gingersnaps.

So adapted from the ACS card (did they know I don't have cancer? They noted it is a time to give thanks, and I agree)

Pumpkin Mouse

2 cans unsweetened pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
2 5.1 oz packages vanilla instand pudding mix (I will use sugar free)
2 T. good cinammon plus 1 t. divided
1 t. Allspice
1 t. nutmeg (freshly grated)
1 t. cloves (my addition)
5 cups of light (not fat free ) (GF) Cool Whip or other GF Whipped Container Topping
20 gluten free gingersnaps (from Trader Joe's or Midel) slightly crushed *but not pulverized
Reserve 1/2 c. crumbs in a bowl on the side.

In a large bowl mix pumpkin, vanilla pudding, 2 T cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. Add Four cups of whipped topping.

Line bottom of trifle dish with half of gingersnaps. Top with hald pumpkin and half whipped cream. Repeat layer, ending with whipped cream. Sprinkle with a few gingersnap crumbs and cinnamon.

Cool three hours and serve. Serves 8.

Much love, and don't you love pumpkin? I sure do!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

World's Best Husband (A Sunday Blessing)

It occurred to me, I never seem to write about Randy.

in about 9 days, Randy and I will have been married for two years. We have known each other since the mid 1990s -- we met at an AEJMC meeting, don't know which one exactly.

But I do know when we became friends: The weekend of the MC&S midwinter meeting April 1-3, 1998, in Tampa. We had an hour long conversation on a bus and I realized that we were "of the same mind" about so many things. He and I were sitting across the aisle from each other on the bus. My ex and Jeffrey were in the row in front of me. Go figure.

What some of you don't know is we don't live in the same city through the year. Randy teaches and lives in Tampa, and I teach and live here. We visit. A lot. Sure it's tough. But we haven't known any other life as a couple, and we live for the time when we can be in the same city in the same house full time. Whenever and wherever that is.

So what do you need to know about Randy, the love of my life? Like me, he loves good food, eating in wonderful restaurants, travel, disco music (and The Manhattan Transfer), and real humor. We love many of the same movies and many of the same shows.

He is a loyal friend like no one I know. He had high school friends who came to our wedding -- I'm not even in touch with anyone I went to high school with right now. He's the kind of guy who "keeps in touch". He's also loyal to his family. And now he's added my family.

He's smart. I'd imagine MENSA level high smart. MUCH smarter than I am, really. He can do the Times Sunday Crossword with an ink pen. Sometimes he makes me feel really dumb, but he keeps me on my toes.

He loves sports and knows more about sports than just about any man alive. I swear I think he could Stump the Schwab! He's loyal to his teams (I can't watch a USF football game with him when they're losing -- I'm afraid for my dishes when they do something stupid). He loves all sports except NASCAR, and he admits he tolerates it because of me and especially Jeffrey.

Since I got out of the hospital last Monday, Randy has been here trying to take care of me. I say trying because I'm not an easy person to take care of when I'm sick. I'm grumpy. I'm picky. On Monday, he fielded (and made) all the phone calls with the good news from the surgery -- no cancer. I know he was scared as I was, but he held it in and didn't say anything except positive thoughts. And he e has been here all week, bored out of his skull, taking Jeffrey to work and picking him up, and running to the store for me to get this pill or that juice. He's had to fend for himself on meals (I'm not cooking for obvious reasons and we've eaten up all the food my students brought Wednesday and that I cooked last weekend). He picked up after himself, he put the toilet seat down all week (YAY) and he didn't complain to me about how bored he was a single time. He has also dealt with the fact that I'm in instant menopause because of the surgery, so the hormonal moments and hot flashes and insomnia is already starting. I'll be on HRT by Thanksgiving, honey, I hope.

Jeffrey said the other day, aren't we lucky we have Randy? I said yes. Yes we are lucky. And blessed.

He's been here in case I needed him. All week. All the time. No matter how bored he was. And this isn't the first time -- this is the third operation I've had since we've been married and fourth since we' started dating. (It has been a tough couple of years). And he's been here for me through all of them.

About all I've ever said here on this blog about Randy is how lucky I am. Well, now I think you know why I'm so lucky.

I love you Randy. Thanks for being all mine. Thanks for taking good care of me. Just thanks.


Thursday, November 1, 2007

Post op update

One of my favorite shows of all time is Thirtysomething. It remains my favorite of all the series/dramas. I know it was a little Whineysomething sometimes. I didn't care. I loved it.

There was a poignent (and Emmy-winning) series of episodes when one of the characters, Nancy, figoes through the process of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and I kept thinking about that a lot this past couple of weeks. Up to the point when they told me I didn't have cancer, it was an identical process, and I could relate to closely to it. Thankfully I don't have cancer, but Nancy did OK too. She's all grown up now and playing a bitchy woman on Brothers and Sisters. That's what i call a survivor.

Three funny things stood out from those episodes that I have seen in parallel here:

1. Nancy was overrun with banana bread. I am overrun with fruit. I am happy because I have been eating mostly fruit and yogurt for the past four days. But I will enough apples and oranges for all the kids' Christmas stockings.

2. I don't understand this no driving thing. OK, I understand it while I'm in darvocet land, but seriously, to quote Nancy in one episode, since when do you need ovaries to drive a car? What, are they nature's GPS?

3. The menopausal symptoms that come from dead ovaries (I know guys, TMI) well they happen fast. I'm already starting on the hot flashes (or is it a fever breaking) and the insomnia!

But we had a delightful Mexican meal (with veggie soup for today) brought over by three of my students -- Rachel Stubbs, Angel Wallace, and Katie Parker. And Jodie is coming to visit shortly. April just called to check in. I have beautiful, glorious flowers to look at, and the mail continues to bring cards and notes. And I have lots of friends emailing and posting to cheer me. My brother in law Ron mailed me a classic cookbook and a Bette Hagman GF book (yay!) which I've been reading while relaxing.

Today I even did a few chores. I did laundry and unloaded the dishwasher and cleaned the bathroom a little. Now I have to go put laundry in the dryer. Randy is taking a nap. He took Jeffrey to work at 8 for me and will probably escort him to the grocery store this afternoon.

I hope to be back in a couple of days with a recipe for something likely involving fruit.

Much love, and healing