Emojis and Ebola: Catch Up Time

Much was sacrificed during the making of Book Two, something I will begin rectifying immediately including…

  • Reading. I’d set a goal to read a book a week in 2014. I’m ten books behind. While having read 31 books already this year might seem great, I read 75 books in 2013 so I’m unimpressed with myself, even though I honestly have no clue how I pulled off reading so much last year.
  • Friends! *WAVES* I’m here. I’m sorry. I suck. Please still like me.
  • Cleaning. I’ll spare you a photo of the “scary room.” It’s actually our office, but we use it as a dump site for everything and anything. Currently there are papers piled on my desk for filing from March through October, books strewn everywhere that have yet to make it on my shelves, camping gear, photos awaiting find frames, and some of the items from when I decluttered and de-glutened my kitchen that I have yet to give away. I’ll spare you a photo.
  • Emojis and Ebola: I should probably brush up on the news and latest technology.
  • Pondering my next project. I have a few ideas. I’m hoping to jot down some notes. I’d contemplated NaNoWriMo on Friday, but then quickly reconsidered because that’d be cray-cray after the insanity of the last few months. I need a break. Or at least a gentle writing guideline and not one that involves writing a novel of at least 50,000 words during the month of November.
  • Get reacquainted with Novel Escapes. Post more reviews. Regularly.
  • Maybe write some blog posts and possibly attempt some marketing for Redesigning Rose.
  • Gardening. My poor, poor garden. Thankfully husband has been tending to it, but I suspect he may now think he’s claimed it and staking my territory again next spring will be a struggle.
  • Television! So behind.

Disclaimer: The above list is not inclusive of everything requiring my attention after finishing Drafts Two and Three of Book Two and is not in order of priority.

Here’s one shiny manuscript on its way to one beta reader. I couldn’t bring myself to transport it in anything but the New York Public Library tote I scored on my trip last May.


Sixteen Surprising Things That Contain Gluten

I have cut gluten and wheat out of my life off and on for the last ten years and I thought I was in the know. I had NO idea. Gluten is EVERYWHERE.

I have to wash my hands a thousand times a day. Because I touch my face. A lot, apparently. The amount of times I stare at my computer working out a tough scene with a fist pressed to my lips flabbergasted me when I started to pay attention.

I promise this won’t become a gluten bashing blog, but I just wanted to post some of the surprising things I found. And to inform family and friends. And I especially want everyone to know that if I kiss your kids or hold their hands and then immediately scurry off to scrub my hands and wash my mouth it’s not because they’re gross. I love them, I really do. But I love my health just as much. And thank you to my wonderful SIL and BFF who didn’t balk a couple of nights ago when I washed my mouth with soap after kissing her kids – on the head. But I didn’t know where they’d been that day, what they’d eaten and what they’d wiped their hair with. She was lovely about it and said “Oh my God, you can’t even kiss the kids anymore without thinking about it.” Sadly, no. And yes, I may be going a little gluten-a-phobe, but when you’ve felt like I have for the last decade and more you’re going to try and do things right.

Here are a few shocking (to me) things that I discovered have gluten.

  1. Potato Chips – the flavoured variety
  2. Soy Sauce – many of them are wheat based
  3. Lipstick
  4. Toothpaste. Toothpaste!
  5. Tape and stickers and stamps and envelopes
  6. Pam – the Baking Spray, not regular
  7. Licorice. Licorice!
  8. Vitamin E face cream – it’s usually derived from wheat germ like the one I’d been using one for the last fifteen years. I had no clue.
  9. Salad Dressing
  10. Vodka – much of it is made with wheat and those that are flavoured are verboten, see #11.
  11. Natural and Artificial Flavours – don’t ask me why, I haven’t gotten that far yet.
  12. Deli Meats
  13. Hand sanitizers – Purell is okay. Thank God.
  14. Pickles – if made with malt vinegar
  15. Wine – if wheat derived caulking is used on barrels
  16. Your hands – from touching things!

Also, products from Canada can be different than the US such as Worchestershire which is fine in the US but not in Canada because it is made with malt barley. Manufacturers also change their recipes so something that is fine one day could be a nightmare the next.

It’s a good thing I like reading. And that Costco is a gluten-free mecca. And that my favourite alcoholic beverage is vodka. Little victories. Or, you know, big ones where the vodka is concerned.


Gluten Gone Bad

Last week I found out gluten is forbidden for me. Since then, I’ve been struggling to comprehend just how much my life is going to have to change. Here are just a few of the aggravating ways. And not to forget to be grateful, I’ve listed some of the positive ways below. Because it’s not all bad – or at least, it won’t be.

  • I have to read the label on anything that goes near my mouth.
  • I will spend hours reading, researching, cooking, and baking.
  • Grocery shopping taking twice as long with all the reading and googling I have to do.
  • I have to replace half of my kitchen pantry.
  • I can no longer shop at the bulk food store.
  • My grocery bill is going to fly through the Milky Way.
  • My local health food store owner could retire on my purchases.
  • I can (mostly) no longer eat out.
  • I have to ask the restaurant a thousand questions if I do.
  • Eating at someone’s house is just going to be easier if I bring my own food or bring a few dishes. Cross contamination of gluten is evil with a capital E – even scrubbing the cutting board after using it to slice bread might not prevent pesky gluten molecules from transferring into my meal – they can burrow into a wooden cutting board or spoon and hang out for a surprisingly long time. Did I mention I have to replace all of mine? And I haven’t figured out what to do about my toaster. Am I really going to give up toast (the gluten-free variety)? I love toast. I do, however, have sparse counter space and adding a second toaster isn’t really an option.
  • If I can eat at a social gathering, I’m going to have to run over folks to bolt to the front of the serving line before the food gets cross contaminated. Granny is going to think my manners have gone to hell. And I can never go back for seconds. Or thirds.
  • I’m really going to miss lazy Sunday mornings out for Dim Sum.
  • I’m really going to miss grabbing a quick snack or meal if I don’t feel like cooking.
  • I am going to have to feel like cooking. ALL. THE. TIME.

I know this has been a bit of a grumbly post, but there are good things here, too:

  • I will eat healthier
  • My family will eat healthier
  • It could have been one hell of a lot worse
  • I will avoid health complications later in life
  • I get to shop for some new kitchen stuff!
  • I will feel better
  • More energy is sure to follow
  • I may not have to sleep 9 hours every night
  • This will give me more writing time
  • And more time for cooking healthy
  • And everything else joyful

I’m looking forward to it – I am. It’s just an adjustment, and, like everything, that takes a little bit of time.