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2007 November

Living with Allergies

November 20, 2007

It hides everywhere

I have been asked via email how the whole new diet thing is going. And for the most part it is okay. It is easy to cook at my own house. I feel comfortable because I read labels and trust myself not to cook something that will kill me.

But going out to eat at a restaurant causes me untold amounts of stress. And even eating at the houses of other people who do not deal with food allergies is hard.

For example these cans of broth. How many people who have no allergies would think that they needed to look for eggs or wheat on a can of broth? I never would have. I had sent my husband to the store to buy broth for a recipe and even he did not think to read the labels.

Death in a Can

Death in a can.

This Thanksgiving we are going to my sister-in-law’s house. And while I love her and her dried out turkey, she is not the type to be vigilant. And so I will probably only eat the salad that I have been asked to bring. And honestly that is completely fine with me. I don’t expect people to cater to my allergen free diet at all. I am into the holiday for the family togetherness and visiting. But everyone else makes a big deal over it.

And people will insist that whatever they brought is safe for me to eat. Until pressed for exact ingredients when it will become clear that they did use something I can’t eat. Or they will say that just a little bit won’t hurt. Um, yes actually it will.

This past weekend I ate out at a restaurant. I took two bites of my steak and had an allergic reaction. I had told them about my allergies. They insisted that it would be fine. And since it was a large chain restaurant I believed them.

Obviously I didn’t die since I am here typing this now, but I had to take Benadryl, my blood pressure went through the roof, my chest tightened up, I had stomach cramps, and I felt really awful for two days.

So if you invite me over and I bring food or don’t want to eat yours, don’t be offended. It’s nothing personal.

Posted by Chris @ 10:58 am | 66 Comments  

Holiday Food Fiascos

November 19, 2007

My misadventures in the kitchen are legendary, so legendary in fact that my family has just come to expect them as the inevitable fact of my cooking.

Let’s see there was the time I cooked the turkey with the plastic wrapped neck and gizzards still inside. But who hasn’t done that, right? Let me see a show of hands.

Then there was that time I put the turkey in the oven frozen thinking that surely it would defrost as it cooked. I pulled out a golden looking turkey that was still frozen in the center. Maybe if I had cooked it in the oven for another 15 hours until the outside was charred black dust the inside would have been edible.

Or the time I made soup and put it in the soup tureen on the table well in advance of the rest of the meal being done. (A meal which was late getting on the table because I had not mastered the food timing juggle.) When we sat down to eat the soup was iced cold, prompting this infamous quote from my mother-in-law, “Food just doesn’t stay hot the way it used to.” Ah yes, because we know over the past 50 years the Laws of Thermodynamics have changed dramatically.

Oh, and there was that one year we were dog sitting for our friend’s black lab over the holidays. They told us that he would eat everything he came across, but the full extent of this tidbit came on Christmas morning when the dog got into our walk in pantry. A pantry where I had put all the cakes, pies and desserts I had slaved over for an entire week.

The dog ate them all. Every last bit of delectable dessert gone in a few moments. And then he vomited it all back up all over the previously mopped kitchen floor, the horror of which I am not sure I can fully express. I did empathize with all those kids who have ever had to say the dog ate their homework.

I almost forgot about this one. I’ll offer it up as a tip to you from me, because I am nice like that. Should you want to make festive rice crispy treats for your family as an easy child friendly dessert, go with the green food coloring. The red food coloring make it look like a plate of raw hamburger meat. Although the disgusted looks on the faces of your family while you pretend you are eating raw meat are pretty priceless.

Wow, it really is a miracle that any of family ever come over and expect to eat at my house, isn’t it?

So how about you? Please tell me you have food fiascos to share? Tell me I am not alone. Please?

Post it on your blog and then go to BlogHer and post the link using the handy dandy widget they have there.

Posted by Chris @ 12:48 pm | 58 Comments  

I Think It Says Coal, Lots and Lots of Coal

November 17, 2007

Miles sat down at the table with a pen and paper. Very seriously he scribbled across the lines of the paper. Pausing to contemplate before scribbling some more.

Finally when the page was filled with scribbles, he brought the paper over to me and said, “This is my Christmas List.”

I looked it over. “Well, what does it say?”

He let out a heavy sigh and said, “I don’t know. I can’t read.”

Posted by Chris @ 8:12 am | 55 Comments  

Shop Til You Drop

November 16, 2007

Every year before Christmas my good friend and I go away shopping for the weekend. We have been doing it for over 10 years now and I look forward to it all year long. Two whole days of shopping, eating whenever and whatever we want without worrying about little people, having entire conversations uninterrupted.

We catch up on all the news of our respective families. Watch bad television that never, EVER involves sports or bloodshed. And get all of our shopping done.

We also wrap all of our presents in our hotel room while eating candy and drinking wine. And since I have more children than she does, and therefore I have more presents, she invariably ends up wrapping lots of mine too. Lord knows my husband would never wrap a present.

But by far the best part about the weekend is the laughter. The pee in your pants, tears streaming down your face laughter that makes people around us spontaneously burst into laughter also. We like to think they are laughing with us.

My kids are now all handing me crumpled bits of paper with items frantically scrawled on the lines, pictures torn from toy catalogs glued to the paper, and MOM written with a little heart for an O. The worst thing you can say to my children right now is “That is made in China.” And my children are tormenting each other, like only loving siblings can do, by saying this. This led to my daughter yelling tonight, “Stop saying China. I don’t want to hear China again!”

Posted by Chris @ 8:13 pm | 27 Comments  


November 15, 2007

It was 34 degrees earlier today and we had some icy flurries that decided to come down.

Wouldn’t you think that this would be the perfect time for our wood burning stove to decide to stop working? Really, it is. Warmth and feeling in your extremities is so over rated.

I am so tired of this particular stove. It has given us nothing but trouble since we bought it. This will be the fourth time it has needed repair and this is only our third winter using it, and winter hasn’t even STARTED YET. Rob wants to take a sledge hammer to it and then throw the pieces through the window of the place where we bought it. And if the thing weren’t so damn heavy I might agree. Oh and the fact that I actually like to be warm.

Right now I am huddling in front of my kerosene heater. If Susan calls to tell me that she has her air conditioning on today I am going to throw her through the window. With love.

Over at my other blog I have a Holiday Gift Guide in progress.


Toys that are actually in my home and have stood the test of time.

Posted by Chris @ 10:38 pm | 35 Comments  

Well, what do you know…

November 14, 2007

Well, look at that

A quote from me in this months issue of Parenting magazine. It comes from this post.

Also, I totally forgot my contractually obligated mention of my post over at Parenting yesterday. It was written to my son for his entrance into teendom.

Thirteen years ago you were still inside me. We were still living as one, you completely dependent on me. Our hearts beating together. In truth I was pushing for an hour already, you were a stubborn little thing — that hasn’t changed. But I’ll spare you those details about your freakishly large baby shoulders, tears, stitches, and my vagina. You’re welcome.

Is it Friday yet? Because even though Monday was a holiday this has been a L-O-N-G week, all two days of it so far.

Posted by Chris @ 11:06 pm | 25 Comments  

Conversation of the Day

November 12, 2007

Rob and I were talking over dinner tonight about how we are buying half a cow and a pig this year from a local farmer (animal grower?) who raises them on a natural grain organic diet, blah blah blah. We have been talking about it for a couple of years, but every year things have conspired against us. I am not sure what things exactly other than our inability to pick up the phone and make a call. But this year we got our act together.

My 4 yr old daughter suddenly piped up, “But Mommy, where are we going to KEEP our pig?”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Oh, I know we could make a little house outside for him!” she helpfully said.

“Or we could keep him in little packages in our freezer!” I suggested.

Poor child, she just has no clue.

Posted by Chris @ 10:55 pm | 55 Comments  


At the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month, we remember*…

I remember as a child that veterans all seemed so old and from wars fought so long ago. It was something from the past. I wish I could say the same things now.

Where I used to see old men I now see boys. Boys not much older than my sons.

Happy Veteran’s Day to all the veterans out there– my husband, my father-in-law, and my step father included.

(except that this year I forgot. The whole Monday off thing threw me for some reason. Well, that and I was too busy ranting about crap made in China.)

Posted by Chris @ 9:00 am | 11 Comments  

China Free

November 11, 2007

Today I went out shopping with my 11 yr old son. We were looking for a last minute present for my oldest son as well browsing for some Christmas presents for my younger children. I am not sure that I could even begin to express how disappointed I was to find toy after toy after manufactured in China. And non-toy things too.

Leap Frog toys…China. Though one Leapster cartridge that I picked up was made in Indonesia.
Schleich castle figures… China

Melissa and Doug… China. This one upset me the most today. I had just bought a bunch of their products online where the website said made in the USA. That is not the case. I am considering returning them all once they arrive.

Fisher Price toys… every single one I picked up was made in China, even the cute retro grandfather clock that looked like one I had as a kid.

Le Creuset cookware…made in China. Good Lord I assumed it was made in France and have coveted it for years. I had it in my cart at TJMaxx today when my son pulled it out and read the underneath. I could rent my son out if anyone wants to have an external conscience. I felt actual physical pain when he put the Dutch oven back on the shelf.

Every Christmas decoration we picked up, China. Yes, even the snow globe I had picked up as an addition to my collection. When my son put that back on the shelf I may have muttered under my breath, “Great, how about we exchange twigs and rocks as presents this year.”

I came across this website today called China Free Christmas which lists toy manufacturers that are safe. It is far from an exhaustive list but a good place to begin should you too want to break free from goods manufactured in China and exchange macaroni glued to paper plates with your family an friends.

Posted by Chris @ 9:45 am | 67 Comments  

In the blink of an eye

November 10, 2007

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Thirteen years go by.

Posted by Chris @ 9:17 am | 46 Comments