Category Archives: Gluten avoidance therapeutic bitchathon

Lesser knowledge

Item – I’m letting H have the final (well. Final for the moment. Finalish. Non-final. Punctuational) word on the matter of feelings and expressing them and to whom and how and why and whether it’s any help at all to do so or not or what. It seems only fair. He says he’ll post tomorrow. At the moment he is emailing my mother about private IVF and has therefore earnt all the brownie points a man can earn in one evening.

Item – Meanwhile, we’ve both been busy and/or stressed and/or royally pissed off at work. H for good reasons involving tight deadlines and screwy budgets and peculiarly demanding but under-informed clients. Me for stupid reasons involving my giving too much of a crap about whether procedures are followed correctly, having to share an office with people arguing with each other about seniority, and my boss’s absolute, persistant, four-years-and-counting obsession with the fact that every now and then I am ten minutes late for work. I am working up the nerve to tell her I’m not paid enough to be responsible for the train company’s maintenance schedules on top of my own work. As it is, I have a fairly unpleasant panic attack every single morning that the trains fuck me about. My boss claims that my being ten minutes late ‘on such a regular basis’ (I think she means, every few weeks the trains fuck up for a week and I’m late maybe twice that week) makes me look like I ‘don’t care about work’. This is what bothers her. I should be glad it’s not my missing three days of work a month, I know, but I work late several times a week even on days I’m not late. I volunteer for extra training and responsibilities. I take on procedure-writing duties. I give talks on library skills. I am generally acknowledged to be the go-to expert of the team on four different subjects-areas. I can, and have, catalogued a seat-cushion. I ‘don’t care about my work’ indeed. I am so offended.

Item – But she’s right, you know, just a tiny bit. I do my job to the best of my ability because I’d feel scuzzy taking the money if I didn’t, and because I do care about my particular field of expertise, but yes, I’d dump the whole lot tomorrow and skip chortling into SAHM-land, waving my last pay-check like a jolly little flag, if only I could.

Item – Oh, and H has another bad cold. Another! He’s only just got over the one that arsed up our holiday at the end of March. I’m going to complain to the management, so I am.

Item – I, meanwhile, am not having bad colds. I am having desultory hay-fever (the one good thing about the utterly craptastical weather we’re having this Spring), so my eyes, nose, lips, and throat all itch all day long, and, err, that’s it. Oh, and I will now give myself horrible gas and diarrhoea if I eat wheat, it seems. I get a mild stomach-ache if I so much as eat the wrong brand of soy sauce. Oh, Universe, just why don’t you sod off.

Item – Given that my immune system has spent the past five years becoming thoroughly unreasonable, H and I are investigating various private providers of IVF who also do immune testing for RPL.

Item – And I showed H how to access my cycle charts online – you know, my ovulation/menstruation charts, which I keep religiously because I am one of the few people I know for whom charting really works in that I actually need to know when to expect my period so I can barricade the doors etc. and charting gives me at least ten days’ warning which is so freakin’ cool also unpunctuates me utterly – where was I? Yes. I showed H the charts, and he had a good look, and worked out what he was looking at (all the little green squares and cross-hairs), and then he drew my attention to a couple of cycles in the past year that looked worryingly like chemical pregnancies. Yes, I know. I worried myself sick those two months. But I didn’t get a positive pregnancy test for either of them, therefore I have not drunk and seen the spider*, and therefore they don’t count. I refuse, I categorically refuse, to up my count to nine. I won’t. They didn’t happen.

Item – H is getting over his mental block about IVF. He even said, today, that he was coming to terms with the fact we probably weren’t going to get pregnant naturally again. General feeling that we are sidling onto the same page again, though alas, poor H, what a thing to have to come to terms with.

*…How blest am I
In my just censure! in my true opinion!
Alack, for lesser knowledge! how accurs’d
In being so blest! There may be in the cup
A spider steep’d, and one may drink; depart,
And yet partake no venom (for his knowledge
Is not infected), but if one present
Th’ abhorr’d ingredient to his eye, make known
How he hath drunk, he cracks his gorge, his sides,
With violent hefts. I have drunk, and seen the spider. A Winter’s Tale, II.i.


Oh woe, woe is me

It’s been a bitch of a week.

Item – H and I are still less than charmed with certain aspects of each other’s behaviour right now (all the other aspects are adorable). H is shilly-shallying about booking an appointment with the counselling service, and I am being self-righteous about it despite the fact I have done absolutely grand fuck-all about finding a counsellor of my own, because do as I say, not do as I do, that’s why. Meanwhile, H is in a permanent low-grade sulk, and I haven’t had sex for nearly a month, and I can’t begin to unpick how the two are related.

Item – For the record, I’m not the one who’s avoiding sex round here. That is not our relationship dynamic. I am given to understand that we are unusual, but there it is. I want more sex than H does. When stressed, he avoids sex and seeks cuddles. When stressed, I avoid cuddles and seek sex. I am basically a bloke with tits. Apparently. Especially according to the Relate website which is one of the most patronising, stereotyped, unhelpful, and just plain scientifically, biologically, and emotionally wrong things I ever did read on the subject. How the hell do they think reading that makes a woman with a higher-than-her-partner sex-drive feel? How isolated, abnormal, freakish, lonely? How do they think it makes a man whose not as randy as his partner feel? Eh? Did they think at all? And these are the number one people supposed to help relationship issues? No. Just, no. Not going to a Relate counsellor. Not now, not ever, not if it was an ultimatum. No. Jesus. Seriously. It’s 2012.

Item – On Wednesday, I struggled through the day at work with increasingly unpleasant, err, gastrointestinal distress. I wondered if I’d eaten one of the many (many many bloody Goddamn many) things that I now appear to be allergic to (the HELL, immune system?). I was well enough to go out to dinner with my parents that night, but the next morning, well, basically, I was just about ready to leave for work, and The Lower Bowel, It Objected. I spent hours of that day in the bathroom. Hours. (About 50 minutes in, I thought ‘and that is why they invented iPads’).

Item – Anyway, my digestive track appears to have got a grip again (hahahahahaHAHAHA). I said to H, perhaps this is actually some kind of IBS? and he pointed out that, technically, he has the IBS niche in this household covered, thank you, so I’m back to recounting my allergens and glaring suspiciously at labels. I can’t see us doing IBS as a joint hobby working out very well.

Item – Therefore on Saturday we were at the shopping centre (mall to you transAtlantic types) looking at toasters (we rock so hard) when I noticed a lacuna in my vision, and people’s heads getting peculiarly (horribly) distorted as they stepped into it. I blinked. Now I had two lacunae. BUGGER. Migraine. H bustled me into the nearest chemist and I choked down two liquid ibuprofen capsules while standing in the queue to pay for them – the sooner I can get aspirin or ibuprofen down me when the aura starts, the better chance I have of heading off the Skull-Crushing. We went back out onto the main concourse and I considered the overwhelmingness of the noise, and the visual distortions, and the growing sea-sick feeling, and decided I was going home. We live about 10 minutes walk from said shopping centre and I had about 20 to 30 minutes before Mjölnir plunged out of the stratosphere into my parietal lobe. H would have to look at fish in the supermarket without me. And off I wobbled out into the rain. I bumped into the main doors (twice, like a pinball), four passers-by, a bus-shelter, a bollard, and the table once I’d got home, but I made it, and had even constucted a nest consisting of blankets, pillows, blinds drawn, and lap-top playing factual literary programmes from Radio 4 (no laughing, is vital) very very quietly before the first great crushing onslaught. I am a very lucky migraneur. I wasn’t sick, and though it felt like someone was scraping out the left side of my skull with a sharpened melon-baller for a few hours, it had faded considerably by 6pm, after the application of paracetamol and more ibuprofen. I still can’t say long words without buggering them up, and I’ve corrected the spelling on everything I’ve written today at least twice, but the headache! Is! Mild! Yay!

Item – So today H decided to up the ante and poison me by feeding me taramosalata. I was about two mouthfuls in when it dawned on me that taramosalata is, in fact is supposed to be, 40% breadcrumbs. I love taramosalata. H knows I love taramosalata. He got it for me as a treat while I was lying in the dark remonstrating feebly with Matthew Parris for dissing W.H. Auden. BASTARD SON OF A BASTARD BASTARD’S BASTARD. The gluten, that is, not H, or Matthew Parris, or even Auden. H also bought me tulips, so he can stay.

Item – My step-father said something on Wednesday that made me so boilingly cross I don’t know what to do with myself. Which is awkward. As I love the man dearly. But I think it needs a whole post to itself, so I shall post this one and go see if I can make tea without pouring boiling water into the filter jug and then milk into the kettle.


Another broken biscuit assortment

Item – Right. I went back to work. There was a lot of it. I did it. The people who picked up the emergency slack for me while I was Indisposed refused all my offers of shift swaps and so on, saying I’d do the same for them. Which is true, but they don’t have Inner Organs of Recurrent Doom, so I don’t get the chance to do the same for them. Not once an emmineffin’ month, anyway. Am verklempt. (As H pointed out, it doesn’t hurt that I always go back to work after an Indisposition, disgustingly pale with fetching navy-blue under-eye pouches. I think they all treat me very gently for a couple of days in case I really do actually shatter into a gadzillion shards and the whole office has to be evacuated for clean-up).

Item – H, whereas, is coming down with another cold, and is skulking in the study in his dressing-gown and a slight fever. Poor bastard. Stress really does hold your immune system’s head down the pan and pull flush, doesn’t it?

Item – I think, finally, I have come to the conclusion that H and I really are not going to get pregnant the fun private way anymore. 12 cycles since I was last pregnant (actually, 13, but we carefully didn’t try for one of them as I was having surgery, so it doesn’t count. Clearly, that was the cycle we would’ve conceived Baby Einstein Prime Minister Nobel Prize for Literature). We’re back to being infertile, as well as recurrent miscarriers.

Item – You will see from the Ticker of Shame down there on the right, the combination of holidays, bereavement, The Chocolate Festival, and anxst, has embiggened my bottom, and we’re back at square one. Excuse me one moment… [AAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH]… So. Anyway. Given that I have Officially Lost All Faith in my body’s ability to produce an egg with any sperm-related social skills at all, IVF it is. And I have to lose a few pounds again (again (again again)). So close, and yet so utterly fucked up.

Item – Next quest (to go along with the Salad, You Shall Eat It one), actually do more of the things that cheer me up, and a lot less of the things that piss me off. To which end, a list –

Things that cheer May up:

  1. Knitting – I have raging Knitting Attention Deficit Disorder, caused, or so I like to think, by having to jam projects in and around commuting, work, and being tired and vague (this last being pretty much a full-time job in and of itself for the likes of me). *sigh*
  2. Reading – I don’t read as much as I used to. I always think there’s something better I ought to be doing, and that reading would be self-indulgent, and then I fribble my spare time away on nothing very much and just think! I could’ve been improving my mind with a good book!
  3. Writing – The more I write, the happier and more balanced I feel. And yet, it suffers from the same sort of fribblage that messes with my reading time. And, also, an ugly feeling of ‘there’s no point writing anything unless it’s brilliant, and it’s not going to be brilliant, so don’t write’. What is this crappy inner monologue in my head for and how do I turn it off?
  4. Cooking – This happy habit came completely unglued in the Recurrent Miscarriage Years of Soul Destruction. I used to do most of the cooking, I enjoyed it, and I was pretty good at it. Now H does most of the cooking. It started because I would go through weeks and months of being utterly flattened with apathy and depression after each miscarriage – I’d get home from work every evening so very tired I could barely eat without crying with exhaustion – and then I’d miscarry again just when I was starting to get a grip and perk up. And now, my periods make me really ill and weak, which doesn’t help. My plan is to do more of the cooking at weekends, and do more of the sort of thing that can be put in the fridge/freezer for later in the week, which will still allow me to be completely apathetic on Thursdays but take the pressure off H.
  5. Art galleries and museums – I work in a big city. I could really truly go to a museum for a quick brain refill during my lunch-break. Why don’t I?
  6. Films – OK, we don’t do too badly on cinema-going.
  7. Long walks – This, we fail on miserably. But I like them!
  8. Restaurants – A couple of times a month, H and I go out to brunch. It makes me happy. As does meeting H for dinner in town after work but before cinema. As does saving up to treat ourselves to a special meal somewhere fancy on a birthday or anniversary. Again, this sort of thing falls victim to Depressed Apathy. I hate Depressed Apathy.
  9. Sex – Specifically, the sort of sex we have because we’re both in the mood for sex, with absolutely no reference whatsoever to the time of the month and whether or not we can just do what is sweetly referred to by our American friends as ‘heavy petting’ instead. That might be one good thing to come out of setting our sights on IVF, ironically. Better sex. (You said ‘come’! Teeheehee!)

Item – Another thing that makes May happy, in a weepy, over-joyed, hopeful, heartful sort of way: Long-time blog-friend and all-around witty, lovely Liz at Womb for Improvement is, well, she’s… you know

Item – It’s been a bit of a week for pregnancy announcements. I have another good friend, who I know has been trying for well over a year and who was starting the whole sad grind of going to doctor’s appointments and having tests, also struck lucky (yay!). So that was nice.

Item – Booze I can no longer have because I have developed allergic reactions to grapes, wheat, barley, rye, and, clearly, fun: White wine, champagne, rose wine, sherry, brandy, beer, Guinness (I was totally a Guinness drinker, from the age of 16), lager, whisky. This is why I’m obsessed with gin. It’s the only thing I can still drink. (Yes I know gin is sometimes made with wheat mash. It’s triple distilled, and has pretty much no wheat proteins left in it by the time it’s bottled. Also, many British gins are made with corn and sugar, so. Here endeth the lesson). For those of you bouncing with eagerness to mention rum – the first time I got pukathonic drunk it was on rum & coke. Rum is dead to me. Tequila, I could get behind.

Item – Nobody ever gets my clever references to Milton and his ilk in my post titles. I feel such a colossal dork. But your indifference will not stop me! I have a mind not to be chang’d by place or time. And again I say:

For who would lose,
Though full of pain this intellectual being,
Those thoughts that wander through eternity
To perish rather, swallow’d up and lost
In the wide womb of uncreated night?


About food, again.

Well, now, after not eating gluten for nearly four months, if I go ‘oh, fuck it, I’m on holiday’ and eat, say, a splendid bowl of seafood linguine in a nice restaurant with a spiffing view of the harbour and a distant lighthouse, my belly blows up like a Montgolfier aerostatic globe (alas without the golden fleur-de-lys at every corner). The experiment was repeated a few days later with a piece of bread and frankly, if I’d bumped into a street-lamp it’d’ve been the Hindenburg disaster all over again. So. For whatever reason, May’s intestines have Taken Against gluten. Whether this is a new thing, or whether they were never pro-gluten in the first place and are quite glad I’ve finally worked it out is undeterminable and probably, for the moment at least, irrelevant.

Meanwhile, I’d kill for a dish of lasagne and a cake that doesn’t have the texture of sand.

Things I can’t eat, because they variously make me bloated, give me violent instant and very painful indigestion, sore swollen lips and tongue, or eczema: Hazelnuts. Raspberries. Bananas. Kiwis. White wine (and champagne). Dairy products from cows (this has improved in the past ten years. I can now eat dairy several times a week without any noticeable reaction). And now, wheat. Arse.

I mean ‘arse’ as in swear-word, not as in another thing I can’t eat.

And, because I ovulated on Monday, I am cutting down on coffee, as I always, grimly, bloody-mindedly do for the two-week-wait. I think, this time, I shan’t start it back up again post-period. Too much caffeine is too implicated in too many random, poorly-backed-up studies of infertility, you see.

When I announced this to H, he expressed the concern that coffee helps me get through the day, I only have one or two coffees a day, and here I was, giving up this thing that helps me get through the day, and it sounded less like me being cautious and healthy and more like me punishing myself.

Well, yes, said I, as if this was the most logical thing in the world.

H looked at me in total, utter, 100% shiny bafflement.

OK. I have just said, and thought, and am still thinking, the sort of thing an unhinged wing-nut with a major eating disorder would say and think.

I don’t think having food intolerances is good for me. You know what orthorexia is? It’s a way of having an eating disorder without anyone really noticing you’ve got an eating disorder. I once weighed a grand total of 120 lbs, thought I was disgustingly fat, and lived on, alternately, black coffee and fingernails for a week, and binges of buttered toast, carrot sticks and Cadbury’s Creme Eggs. For which, of course, I loathed myself. Back on the fingernails! Until my body screams for carbohydrate and fibre! Cycle! Vicious!

Now I weigh, oh, fuck it, I weigh 180 lbs and eat things like salad Niçoise and bacon and avocados and roast chicken and broccoli and chocolate and cherry tomatoes and Pad Thai. And by and large, I don’t beat myself up about any of it. At all. Except maybe when I have my usual PMT break-out and eat enough chocolate to make myself feel a little sick, and then it’s usually only because I could’ve stopped three squares ago and now not be feeling sick.

Or, at least, I did. And yet, here I am, thinking it’s a perfectly logical, sane idea to give up something I love, not because to do so would be provenly healthy (though it may well be (and in fact I am using the healthiness as a justification (which is, you know, how orthorexia works))), but because I love it.

Bugger.


Acceptability

Item – I didn’t go to work today either. I got up twice in the night to rearrange my sanitary arrangements (seriously, the hell, Cute Ute? Turn it off). I am still pale and in pain (FUCK).

Item – I did, however, drag myself to the Hospital Out In The Countryside to get my Day 3 (day 2 to 4 will do nicely, thank you, according to Miss Consultant) FSH and oestrogen blood-tests. I discovered that if you go late morning, rather than early morning, you don’t have to sit among a regiment of pregnant women waiting for scans and passing the time by bitching to their mothers about how their boyfriend (who isn’t there) only has to look at them yada yada. Phlebotomy shares a waiting room with Maternity, you see, as ACU shares a waiting room with ear-nose-and-throat and, no doubt, leprosy shares with mental health and the artificial limb clinic shares with the renal unit. The place was deserted, anyway, and I was seen and punctured at once by my favourite vampire (he makes the vampire jokes), who is very, very gentle and quick and never leaves bruises. As I left, I told him he was the gentlest phlebotomist I’d ever had, and he said, twinkling ‘oh, dear, do I need to do it again?’

Item – And when I got home I lay down on the bed to rest for five minutes and woke up two hours later. Oh well.

Item – Anyway, I’m going to work tomorrow even if I end up passing out in the middle of the stacks. If no other reason than to remind my superiors that I really am sick as a proverbial.

Item – I have not allowed so much as a crumb of wheat (or gluten) to pass my lips for three-and-a-half months and are my periods ‘better’? Are they buggery. The last two have, in fact, been spectacularly, pointedly, worse. Nor am I happy miraculous pregnant. Nor is my skin any better. Any point continuing with gluten-avoidence, think you, oh wise Internets?

Item – As a macabre little plus, four days of nausea and eating maybe two rice-cakes and a little chicken broth every 48 hours has led to me reaching the elusive BMI of Under 30. I give it until I have an actual meal and promptly pop back up to Obese, but still. Nearly time to call Miss Consultant and get the Mills of NHS grinding on Project IVF.

Item – Oh, hey, do you think I’ll be allowed to call myself a proper infertile then? Because, you know, I’ve found several blogs over the years that all set out to tell the world one can’t possibly be a proper infertile until one has had IVF.


Two item posts in a row? You’re spoiling… something

Item – My laptop died. I think. Or at least is terminally unwell. I don’t know. I daren’t switch it off and on again in case it melts. But! Happy ending! I have a new (well, second-hand reconditioned) laptop! Which is not terminally unwell! So I may actually post more often, also comment! Wheeeeeeee!

Item – H isn’t very well. Actually, now we stop to do sums, we realised he hasn’t been entirely well for a couple of months, but we kept putting it down to stress (H very much emotes with his guts), or Christmassy rich food, or too much chocolate at Valentine’s Day, or, eh, well, whatever. So he went to the doctor, and the doctor said, oh dear, and wants to test his iron levels, his thyroid, his liver function, blood glucose, his bone somethingorother and his levels of creatine and urea (kidney function, right?). Just in case. Meanwhile H is having text-book symptomatology of IBS. Poor H. He would have IBS. I’ve just mentioned he emotes almost entirely with his gut. If he complains of stomach ache, my first question is now always ‘is anything stressing you out?’, because I know him. His gut knows he’s stressed before his brain does. So I worry. (I emote through the spasming arteries in my skull, whereas. And being wide awake).

Item – Dance workshop last weekend half-slayed me. I am still hobbling about and making distressing rusted-machinery noises every time I have to lift something heavy (including self out of armchair). Would I do it again? Oh, probably. But maybe not for another few months. Years. Months. Another lots of months.

Item – Tangientially, I was glaring at my (static) weight-loss ticker, and gearing up to give myself a psychological kicking, waily waily, which no doubt would have lead to OverEating Extravaganza and self-dislike-spiral-of-sulk, when it occurred to me to check the private little Bridget Jones-style list of weight-loss I was keeping a few months ago. Um. Well. Yes. I’m 5 pounds skinnier than I was then. I am the skinniest I have been for years. I am more than a stone lighter than I was on my wedding day. So, May, leave May the fuck alone, OK? OK. Right.

Item – On matters more internal, this past week has been rather hard on me. I’ve been having very painful cramps every day, usually worse at night (insomnia! There you are!), and generally feeling grim and tired and royally fucked off. Combine this with the Day of UnGodly Misery that kicked off my most recent period, and, well, what in buggery did I give wheat up for then? Eh? EH? Gah.

Item – Of course, Fertile Signs are Fertile again. Am I in the mood for sex? Am I fuck. Or, not fuck. Just, fuck everything. Even me, if possible. Fuck it.


Fretwork

Oh, look at that. A letter from the hospital, inviting me to a surgery follow-up appointment with Miss Consultant in a week’s time. Well now, isn’t that nice.

*Aaaand… relax*

So, what shall we fret about now?

Seriously, though, we have far too much to fret about at the moment. Lemme ‘splain:

  • H’s grandfather is, I think I mentioned, dying very slowly of something horrible and untreatable. The family is taking it in shifts to visit and help out and try and keep his grandmother calm (she is not calm. Why the hell should she be?). So H is feeling anxious and depressed and I think, a tad left out of it all, stranded over 100 miles away as he is. Fuck and alas. Also, we must arrange another visit.
  • H’s job went through a Phase of Anxst and Uncertainty (another one? Why, yes, another one!), which helped. Also, I could kick his bosses in the shins sometimes, really I could.
  • I ovulated really late this cycle (indeed, have I even ovulated? Or this complicated feint nine million and six?), and had an extra migraine for shit and giggles. Woe is me.
  • And my relationship with my own job has got to the point where, while I was lying face-down in bed with a pillow over my head, shivering and twitching at every infinitesimal noise (I nearly had a fit when a police-car screamed past outside), with what felt like an ice-pick in my right eye-socket and someone debriding the inside of my skull with a sharpened melon-baller, I thought ‘well, at least I’m having the day off work. Hurrah!’ And then I fell asleep. Which was brilliant.
  • If I did ovulate when I now think I did, I will get my period the weekend H and I have theatre tickets for. Satsuma’s sense of humour is getting increasingly warped.
  • The less said about our sex life at present the better. I think Kakapos do it more often with more enthusiasm.
  • And then there’s the rows – oh holy hell, but I’ve been irritable, and H has been irritating. With an added heaping helping of ‘do you have to be irritating right now because I had a migraine already?’ Which, as you can imagine, really helped with the sex-life.

In stuff-I’m-not-actually-fretting-about news, I have not allowed a morsel of wheat (or rye, or barley, or oats) to pass my lips for two months. I’ve missed it a lot less than I thought I would. And to think I saw myself by January 1st being wrestled to the ground outside Pizza Express by concerned onlookers as I tried to fling myself through the plate glass to steal pizzas straight off the tables. That’s not to say I don’t have moments of Weltschmerz when a colleague brings chocolate chip muffins to work, because I so do. On the plus side, that doesn’t mean I then eat the muffin and despise myself. On the minus side, I then do go and eat ricepotatoessugar for lunch and then can’t be arsed to despise myself. I’ve put on two pounds since I last weighed myself and all I could think was ‘huh. Figures.’

This is an improvement on beating myself to slurry with the Guilt Stick.

Look, I even put it in the ticker, so you could all see I’ve put on two pounds. These past two weeks have been so miserable and tetchy and depressing I frankly feel relieved I haven’t put on half-a-stone.

I’m currently wondering whether it would make me feel better to write a good long snivel about Infertility and RPL, Oh My God They Suck, or whether the stiff upper lip and the graceful gliding past such unfortunate displays of anxst would be preferable. Well, you might find it preferable, at least. I shall go and have a bath and mull it over.


A kind of desolate blank

Item – It has been a week since I last blogged on this here blog because nothing is happening. Nothing. It’s January, it’s gloomy, my job is irritating the living shit out of me, Satsuma seems to have gone into hibernation, H’s job is irritating the living shit out of him, etc. It’s boring boring boring. Dreary dreary dreary. Meh.

Item – Also, there is still no sign of the letter offering me the appointment for the follow-up-to-the-surgery consultation with Miss Consultant. You know, the surgery that happened in November. So tomorrow I shall have to spend my tea-break trying to get through to anyone at Miss Consultant’s office who a) isn’t the cleaner or a passing patient who fancied answering the phone, b) isn’t the answer-machine (I swear to God they take the tapes out of that thing just to burn them unheard on the roof, giggling all the while), and c) has a clue who I am, how to find my record in the system, and is prepared to tell me the date of my next appointment at once without trying any ‘we’ll send you a letter’ shenannigans.

Item – Re: Satsuma having gone on strike – well, right up until Thursday, which was day 17 of this cycle, I was clearly producing No Oestrogen Whatsoever. Which is weird. For me, at least. Normally the Signs of Oestrogen are apparant by day 11. Everything that happens that isn’t like what usually happens is of absorbing interest to me, because I have now not eaten wheat for a month and a half, and I want to know if there’s a point. Is there? Do I feel better? Will it take longer before noticeable changes are noticeable? How about now? Anything? And now? Anyway, Satsuma seems to have remembered her duties (note use of word ‘seems’) and we now wait to see if I ovulated last night, or will do so at some point in the next week, or whether she really is hibernating and this is merely a yawn-and-roll-over.

Item – As for the weight-loss thing, well. Bitter McTwisted seems to have taken the veto on wheat to mean that chocolate, being wheat-free, is perfectly acceptable, as are potatoes and rice, and I have not lost a single pound. No, wait, that’s not accurate. Over the past two weeks I have lost and regained the same two pounds every four days four times over. The end result is the same, but the anxst is doubled.

Item – When I was three and old enough to have friends to tea for the event, my mother made me a double-decker bus birthday cake. I think, basically, she made three rectangular chocolate sponge-cakes, stacked them on top of one another with a ‘cement’ of butter-cream, and covered the whole thing in pink icing. It should’ve been red icing, of course, but turning the whole batch scarlet took rather more colouring than she’d bargained for, so my particular bus was resolutely, camply, sugar-pink. And the wee faces of the passengers lining every window were smarties. And I loved it. I am no better a baker now than I must have been at three (unlike my dearest Hairy Farmer Family Wifey, who is a Cake Goddess), but used to amuse me to think that when my own sproglet turned three, I’d make him or her an ineptly pink double-decker-bus cake with smarties on. After all, if I’ve remembered the cake all these years as the height of cake genius, it’d be a tradition worth insisting on. This weekend, the weekend when I should have been making this stupid bloody cake, I made vegetable soup, two portions, one for me and one for H. And later I will cook trout, two portions, one for me, and one for H. And that’s it. No third. No three-year-old third whose birthday cake should be the Great Big Stressy Thing for this weekend. Instead, I stressed out about laundry, specifically, my tee-shirts, and H’s socks. And no-one else’s anything.

Item – And then H wonders why I am so AMAZINGLY FUCKING BAD-TEMPERED this week.


It’s beginning to look a lot like… oh shush

Item – Christmas shopping mostly done. I have one specialist art supplies shop to raid for my sister’s present, and then I will fall face-down into the gluten-free boxes at Hotel Chocolat (again) and all will be well. Anything else that goes wrong will be entirely the fault of the British Postal Service. My conscience is clear.

Item – I actually got completely Queenie at the work Christmas party, and for just about the first time ever, swore, cheerfully, inventively, and at length, in front of my colleagues (but not my boss! I have some self-preservations instincts left! Go me! See the little goblin, see his little feet…). My colleagues have taken to patting me on the arm whenever they see me, and giggling.

Item – I did get to see a proper old-fashioned in-a-freezing-Victorian-barn-of-a-church carol concert, and now I am happy. I may be a godless heathen, but I do so love carols. Especially with a proper well-sung descant or two, an organ extravaganza, and an outbreak of Handel’s Messiah. And all the proper traditions properly followed – the truly disgusting wine served during the interval, the tiresome children sat directly behind you kicking the back of your pew and whining incessantly in the quiet bits without being dragged out bound and gagged by their parents, the person next to you singing very loud and very flat, the person the other side of you attempting the descant part for Hark The Herald Angels Sing with ear-watering results.

Item – We shall not cast our eyes down and to the right. We’ll only see the weight-loss ticker and it will depress us all. It’s as if, being denied wheat also mincepiescakespuddingsbiscuits AT CHRISTMAS, I’ve had to somehow compensate with Excessive Consumption Of Brown Rice And Potatoes. Which have no wheat in. So I can eat them. It’s fine, damn it. Yes it is. No it isn’t.

Item – I think, I only think, mind you, that I am feeling more energetic since I gave up wheat. This is very unscientific, because I also was recovering from surgery a few weeks ago, which tires one out quite noticeably you know, and I tend to feel perkier after ovulation because my reproductive organs have called a truce on their persistant turf war for control of entire pelvis brought on by Oestrogen, Hormone of Satan. My mother thinks I sound well on the telephone, how’s that for evidence.

Item – There are a few more days of work to wrestle through. And then, we descend into the bunker of the family. Armed with nuclear-armageddon-hoarding quantities of pregnancy tests and sanitary towels. Oh, my God. This is going to be so awkward. Hold me.


The salad and the purple dress

So, yes, low-carbohydrate meals that stop a lass tearing her hair out and eating the cupboard door in sheer despair. I did say at some point I was going to talk about recipes.

One of the things H and I eat anyway, voluntarily, and with pleasure (especially in summer), is the Enormous Salad.

This is how we, well, H, mostly (he is the Salad King) make Enormous Salad.

Ingredients:

  • Lettuce. A good, flavoursome one like Romaine or Cos or Batavia. Not iceberg. Iceberg tastes of ice and goes crunch, qualities which make it exceedingly boring to eat in large quantities. Rocket or lollo rosso may be added in small quantities, but can be overwhelming in large.
  • Celery, finely sliced.
  • Cucumber, ditto.
  • Cherry tomatoes, or baby plum, or similar small, intensely tomatoey varieties that actually taste of tomato rather than frost-bite and pinkish slurry.
  • Ad libitum, any or all of finely sliced fennel, finely shredded spring onions (scallions, to you lot over the other side of the Atlantic), finely sliced white closed-cup mushrooms, radishes, finely slivered red onion (easy on the quantity unless you all love onion-breath), finely sliced carrots, oh, yes, had you noticed? Not great lovers of the chunk, chez May.
  • If you like, tinned artichokes, thoroughly rinsed and chopped into quarters, black olives (H hates them, so we don’t, but they’d be nice), green olives (H likes these. H is weird), maybe the odd caper (H hates these too, the boring git).
  • Herbs! A little basil, or a tad of fresh flat-leaf parsley, or coriander maybe (cilantro to you). Or, no herbs. We don’t always add herbs.
  • Protein! We often use tinned tuna, drained and broken into flakes. And hard-boiled eggs, which go nicely with the tuna. Sometimes we use tinned sardines instead. Or, we’d abandon the sea and egg Niçoise theme and we’d slice grilled chicken, or use left-over chicken from a roast. Or, or, or, we’d use sausages! Yes! Pan-fry or grill sausages, cut them into chunks! We totally would! And when feeling luxurious, we’d use grilled lamb steaks, or beef-steak, also sliced.
  • Dressing – usually a good, mustardy vinaigrette made by H who is unnaturally good at vinaigrette (I’m hopeless). We use, well, H uses, pure Tuscan extra-virgin olive-oil, which tastes very peppery and grassy, so you may prefer to cut it with good sunflower oil, or use milder, sweeter, Spanish or Greek olive oil. And cider-vinegar, but a good wine-vinegar would also be nice (eschew malt vinegar. It’ll drown the entire salad). And garlic, french mustard, salt, pepper. Occasionally, a teaspoon of mayonnaise, or a touch of balsamic vinegar. And SHAKE. Simple. But, for the love of all that’s edible, do NOT use some low-fat pre-made bottled crap from the supermarket. Do not so insult your food. You’re eating this, not running a car on it. And anyway, the human brain is made of 30% pure fat, and so low-fat diets are stupid and make you stupid (low saturated fat diet, horse of different colour. Knock yourself out (i.e., skip the steak and lamb options above, stick to tuna).

Place all ingredients in very large bowl, toss with vigour (ho yuss) and serve.

Given how enormous this salad always ends up being, and given the immense variety of textures and flavours in it, we’ve never wanted any kind of carbohydratey food with it to feel full and satisfied.

Another good main course salad is equal quantities of diced tomatoes, cucumbers, fennel, little gem lettuce, so that you have a cereal-bowl-heaped-full of greenery/tomatoeness per person; a piece of feta cheese about the size of two small matchboxes per person, also diced to the same size as the greenery; dress with black pepper, good olive oil, and shredded basil. This one needs to be made at least half-an-hour in advance and tossed frequently thereafter until consumed. The tomato and feta juices mix with the oil and pepper and make an absolutely perfectly balanced, in terms of salt versus acidity, dressing.

Of course, now it is winter and neither of the above appeal when it’s sleeting and you’re coming home with wet feet and wet gloves and wet hair and misted-up glasses. So I will now go forth and experiment with soup.

Cautionary tale – back in September H and I were at a discount warehouse emporium, and H found a very nice dress he was sure would suit me. And it had been reduced from £70 to £20, which is jolly. And so I tried it on, and damn me sideways but I couldn’t zip it up. And then I committed the cardinal sin of the Eating Disordered everywhere, and bought it anyway, to slim into. Which usually leads to the putting on of seven pounds at least, despair, and the hiding of the dress so far at the back of the wardrobe you’ve hung it in Cair Paravel.

I tried it on yesterday. It fitted perfectly, and I looked, according to H, cute. In a gorgeous sexy sort of way, not in an ‘awww, puppy!’ way, he added, thoughtfully.

Salad! Onwards!