cooking, Just bitchin'



For the last couple of months I’ve been trying an experiment.

Spurred by unprecedented allergies spawned by plants and dust boorish enough to insist on occupying the same planet I do, I began searching for a solution.

I don’t like drugs. If a side effect is possible, it will find me. So, tossing antihistamines to the pollen-laden, dust-carrying wind, I sought something that would address the allergy issue from a more natural viewpoint.

And I thought I found it.

I was amazed at the proclamations that were made! The accomplishments touted! The rosy, healthful portrait painted! Imagine…no more allergies. In fact, uncounted physical and mental blessings would shower down upon me if only I would follow the plan.

So I vowed that for two months, I would embrace a grain-free diet.

We’re not talking just ‘gluten free,’ the buzz word that has spread it’s dry, wheatless fingers over our culture with unexpected tenacity. We’re talking no grains at all. The logic behind the diet was intriguing, if un-provable. I didn’t care about losing weight, so this clever plan hooked me with a dazzling array of other benefits.

I would give it a fair shot. I would jump in wholeheartedly.

I bought the book loaded with attractive grain-free recipes. I decided to try their version of ‘bread’ first. This necessitated a shopping trip.

Fine. I was going to do this right. One food processor, a hand mixer, a wooden spoon, various mixing bowls, and an array of hard-to-find-and-extremely-expensive ingredients later…I was ready to begin.

I made their version of ‘bread.’ I felt victorious when it looked like the picture. I figured I could get used to the odd taste…and I did. I was off and running. Allergy-freedom was a mere five days away. But I was warned that those five days could be grueling as my body labored its way through grain withdrawal.

I stuck it out. As long as withdrawal doesn’t involve vomiting and the shakes…I’m your girl. I found it encouraging when I did feel a little under the weather. It was like a promise kept. Surely the rest would come true, too.

Well, two months later I have to admit…the regimen dried up my sinuses. It also dried up my skin, my hair, my eyes, and whatever pads one’s joints to make movement fluid and painless.

“Maybe my body will adjust,” I croaked to myself early on as I awoke in the middle of the night for the seventh time, my throat parched, my skin itching, my eyes grating against their lids loud enough to be audible. “Maybe I just need more time.”

Yeah. Right. I stuck it out for two months.

I traded allergy angst for a full body malady.

I’m off the bloody program. My shopping list for tomorrow unashamedly includes bread, cereal, and a host of other items that will hopefully reboot and re-lube my entire system.

But I think the most telling indictment of this misadventure was when I brought the last loaf of ‘bread’ outside and left it for the host of wild creatures with whom I share my land. I set it out last night.

It’s still there.


Just bitchin'

Zombie of the Season


It’s insidious.

It wafts about virtually unseen until it accumulates in deceptively pretty, golden drifts. It collects in the crevices and at the interstices of your newly-washed car, your lawn furniture…your innocently-gaping throat and nostrils. Your eyes.

But those are mere diversionary tactics.

It wants your brain.

It’s pollen. The wild, golden child of all those lovely Spring catkins gracefully dipping and swaying in the breeze.

It is the zombie of the plant world.

It wants your brain.

And it shall have it.

Oh, sure, you can try to stave it off with any number of chemical weapons. But sometimes you don’t want to risk the accompanying lethargy. Sometimes you don’t relish the idea of every moist membrane of your body being converted into dry, cracked parchment. Your vivid imagination conjures up sinuses lined with something resembling California’s drought-ridden soil, webbed with arid fissures.

You don’t want that.

So you decide to power through the discomfort, hawking and coughing all the way.

By the time you are reduced to a wheezing, gelatinous mass, abandoned by friends and family because, let’s face it, you’re kind of disgusting like this, you begin to crack. Much like the California drought-ridden soil. The tiny crevices gather and grow and intersect and become one glorious gape.

You shatter.

You take the antihistamine. And it’s not the non-drowsy version, because, well, you’re still laboring under the delusion that you can power through anything the season dishes up. A sign your brain is already under siege.

In a few hours you will blink stupidly instead of speaking cogently. You will nod off over your keyboard. You will struggle for the words just out of reach. You will lick dry lips to no avail. You will rub dry eyes to a sandpapery texture.

You will fix the world in your deadened, dry gaze, and realize the final enormity of your defeat.

You and pollen have become one. You are the outward manifestation of pollen.

Zombies both.

It wanted your brain.

And it got it.