Free to Be You and Me and Gluten-Free

Lily pads at our local art museum.
The blog “The Wanderlust Gene” posted a lily photo today… but hers is actually growing wild in Sri Lanka. I have feelings of inadequacy.

Miles run today: 9

Temperature forecast for this afternoon: 105

Hours spent walking through the woods at a local park yesterday: 2

I have spent the week cooking gluten-free: fish and rice and vegetable, meat and rice and vegetable, even turkey meatballs (no breading) and rice and vegetable.

I have been so hungry, y’all.

I do realize that if I were to eat in this manner at all times, I would lose roughly 10 pounds in 10 days hours. This is because my current diet includes things like Cracklin’ Oat Bran, sweet tea, Goodberry’s ice cream and our neighbor’s divine peach cobbler (positively riddled with gluten).

My mother-in-law is living the gluten-free lifestyle that so many espouse these days. And while she is here, we want her to stay healthy and happy.

This week, I maintained a veneer of calm strength: I cooked pure things. No shredded cheese in sight. No spaghetti. No stir fry. Nothing bad for us in any way.

A sad fact: while in the ocean, I contemplated grabbing a tiny shark and gnawing at it, but it swam away very quickly. It could sense my desperation.

In a purely perverse way that I am not proud of, I tend to crave things that are denied to me.

Historically, my mother bore the brunt of my annoying denial/acting out. When she was baking things, I would stand beside her as she measured flour or sugar. She would ask me to be quiet and still. She would count, “1, 2…” and I would hurriedly rattle off, “3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10!” She found it annoying. (I still do it today: I am sure one day she will discover she secretly loves it.)

When we would go out to swanky restaurants, my sister and I were (mostly) very well-behaved. However, I had a penchant for fits of laughter at inappropriate times. The restaurant (for instance, Galatoire’s in New Orleans) would be calm, dignified… and it would make me giggle. And then my mom, who was mostly likely imagining herself childless and among demure adults, would whisper, “Anne, please stop.”

That was exactly the wrong thing to say.

Ridiculous, over-the-top giggling would commence.

There are other ways I know I should act appropriately but don’t.

My husband and I went in for my son’s third grade conference a couple of years ago. The teacher kept bringing up these evaluation tools called “Dibls” (sp?) (pronounced “dibbles”). I couldn’t help it; professional jargon starts me laughing. Do they really expect me to take something pronounced “dibbles” seriously?

My husband started sympathizing with my mom that day. He kept nudging me to get me to stop and giving me “that look,” but that, of course, made things worse.

How the teacher kept a straight face during all those conferences is beyond me. I would have to provide a written disclaimer before every parent conference if I were a teacher: “I am unable to discuss Dibls with you. Please read about them online at this link:____”

My complete lack of self-control may be one reason why I run: for me, it’s easier to add an activity than to take one away. I’ve tried cutting way back on sugar, only drinking wine on every seventh Saturday (or whatever) and cutting out most processed foods.

These things don’t seem to stick.

I am most impressed with people who have denied themselves some key and beloved item and branched out into some alternative lifestyle. If you are one of these people, I will be admiring you from afar and chanting from the “Moderation is key” handbook.

Because somewhere, there is a baby shark being born who is not a very fast swimmer. And he may not appreciate becoming sushi at the water’s edge.

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