Monthly Archives: March 2012

Help! It’s Gluten-Free For Me…

I know I don’t normally post on Saturdays, but after just a hint of a thought last night, I started going through my blog posts from last year…and was dismayed to find that I had noted, on three different occasions, how much better I was feeling after eliminating gluten from my diet.

I’m pretty sure it was Karen McFarland who told me about Udi’s bread products, which turned out to be a lifesaver for me.  Toast is almost always my go-to food when I’m hungry and nothing sounds good.  But the loaves from the rice flour recipes I was trying out left a whole lot to be desired.

Over the course of the two and a half or three months I did this, I found some fairly acceptable substitutions for foods I missed.  While they weren’t quite as good, I got used to them…and even got to the place where I could enjoy them.  Except the gluten-free lasagna noodles.  Those are awful and I’ll have to keep looking.  I never found a good substitute for dumplings, which I love with my chicken stew.  And what about tender, flaky pie crust?

So I’m appealing to you for help.

What do those of you who are gluten-free do to make it easier to adhere to the diet?  Do you ever cheat?  How long did it take you to adjust to it, and the fact that if you wanted to feel good, you couldn’t eat your favorite foods anymore?  Obviously almost three months wasn’t long enough for me.  Of course I wasn’t convinced that I was sensitive to gluten either.  I am now.

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Hypothyroidism Sucks

Some of you may know that I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism last year.  Even fewer know that the treatment hasn’t been working very well, and that I continue to struggle with overwhelming fatigue…especially when under stress.  And getting a novel ready in time for its release date is extremely stressful.  At least in Enza’s case, since many things that could go wrong did go wrong.

And so I have been slacking off a bit (a lot) on visiting other blogs, my own blog, and Twitter.  When there’s no energy to spare, you have to get efficient at prioritizing.  What is the most important thing on the to-do list?  Right now that’s Enza.

But that’s not all.  I’ve been researching, trying to find anything that might help me feel better (since the medicine regarded as the gold standard by physicians is having so little impact).  Hopefully some of the things I’ve discovered will put me back on track.  Until then I’m just going to keep sucking down a variety of supplements, napping when I need to, and trying to reduce the stress in my life.  And really hoping that I don’t have to go back to a gluten-free diet, because that sucks, too.

If you have symptoms of hypothyroidism, or know someone who has been diagnosed with it, the following video is worth your time to watch.  The Mayo Clinic lists symptoms that include:  fatigue, unexplained weight gain, constipation, dry skin, puffy face, muscle aches, and painful joints.  Other symptoms include brain fog, fluid retention, inability to lose weight (even with a low-calorie diet and exercise), decreased libido and hair loss.

In other words, hypothyroidism can adversely affect your life in almost every area.  Not everyone with the disease is going to experience all of the symptoms, but fatigue seems to be pretty universal…and is always at the top of every list I’ve ever come across.

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Once You Get Down to Naked…

…there’s nowhere left to go.

Sure wish I could read some minds right now to see where people think I’m going with this title.  Probably not in the direction some of you are expecting.  A lot of you know that I write G or PG-13 rated books and blogs and, unless an alter-ego takes over, that’s not likely to change.

So what do I mean?

It’s no secret that I’m not a summer-lover.  Well…I could be if daytime highs weren’t over 75 degrees (with zero humidity) and nights were right around 50.  But you know what?  That would be a Shangri-la kind of thing and it just doesn’t happen in Michigan.

You know what does happen in Michigan?  Or did?  Eighty-four degrees.  Yup. Right smack in the middle of March.  We’re still supposed to be having snow and wind chills, not sweltering August-like heat indexes.

Stubborn person that I am, I wouldn’t turn on the air conditioning.  Just the fans, and I didn’t even want to do that.  Not in the winter.   At least not anywhere but my bedroom (I usually sleep with a fan on year-round).

This makes me worry over how hot July and August are going to be.  Because, frankly, you can only take off so many clothes outside.  Of course if you’ve always harbored some insane desire to be arrested, you can take off as many as you wish.  That’s never made my personal wish list.  And now there’s the whole YouTube thing to consider.  Pretty sure I don’t want to see my naked self starring in a video that could be viewed around the world.  Trust me, no one else does either.

Fortunately I don’t have to consider any of that right now.  Spring weather is here, a few weeks early, but at least it’s more normal than seventies and eighties.  People are worried about asparagus, trees and flowers.  I think they’ll all be fine though.  It’s not like we never get frost-and snow-in April and May.

One of my favorite songs about summer (from Grease).

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It’s Mail Day Again

Daniel Pullman, one of the ‘stars’ of Enza, makes a reappearance in today’s mail.

Dear Arthur,

I just received your letter.  While I’ve delivered many letters with post marks from France, I’ve never had one of my own so I’m a little in awe of it.  It’s hard to imagine that I’m holding in my hands an envelope that has traveled clear across an ocean to get to me.

How exciting it must be to be in a country so far away from home, though I do understand that you’re homesick already.  Perhaps you can draw some comfort from the fact that your family and friends miss you as much as you miss them.  I know I miss you.  It seems that everyone left behind is older and married, so it’s not the same as having someone your own age to pal around with and talk to.

I try to imagine what it will be like when I get there, and wonder whether I’ll be as homesick as you are.   It’s hard, and even a little sad to know that I’ll have no one here to write to.  No one who really cares whether I live or die.

I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to go all maudlin on you.  I thought I was doing fine until Christmas.  Having no one to share it with drove home the fact that Mother is really gone.  And with you and the other guys over there, I realized how truly alone I am.

But I expect you know how I feel as you were on a ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean when Christmas morning arrived.  It couldn’t have been a very festive occasion for you either.

I wish there were some news to tell you about but you know what it’s like in Charlotte.   The last exciting thing that happened was when Billy Parker set off the firecrackers under Herman Croswell’s buggy, and that was last summer when you were still home.

Take care of yourself, Arthur.  Keep your head low in the trenches and keep your gas mask handy.

Yours truly,

Daniel

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Still Procrastinating

Making sure everything is in place, and as perfect as can be, for Enza’s release one month from today is…exhausting!  I have never encountered as many problems getting a book ready for publication as I have this time.

Add to that taking on the project of making a video collection of my mom, aunts and uncles reminiscing about growing up, my grandparents and other fun stuff, the beginnings of  yet another flood on the north side of the property (that lasted through most of July last year), life in general, and starting a new blog about my struggle with hypothyroidism and…what little energy I had is just a memory this week.

I need a vacation!  And some beach, somewhere sounds practically perfect.

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Guilty Pleasure

Looks like this is just one of those days so I’m going to share a video from my favorite YouTube guys, Syncsta.  Granted they’re not really doing anything these days, but I’ve enjoyed watching them for about four years now.  Jake and Chris…make up, get it together and start making more videos!

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Just For Fun…

While I couldn’t use much from this movie, I did watch On Moonlight Bay a couple of times while researching for Enza.  Families didn’t break into song at the drop of a hat, or start dancing around the house (at least I’m reasonably sure they didn’t), but I though I could get an idea of what homes and clothes looked like back then.  And maybe soak up a little of the atmosphere from an era far more innocent than the one we live in today.

This movie probably has the best lines of any movie ever made, and I’d really hoped I could find a video on YouTube that included it but, alas, I could not. So I’ll just share it with you, along with the two clips I did find.

“You look like your father, Wesley.  He was anything but a handsome boy.”

Tomboy, Marjorie (Doris Day), learns to dance.

Marjorie and Bill (Gordon MacRae) say goodbye just before he ships out to serve in WW1.

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