Girl Interrupted “My Gluten Free Life”

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It’s day two of my Gluten Free Life (GFL) and I have to say that if I had to rely on doing without gluten for my health I would starve. First off, I decided to buy Gluten Free all purpose flour so that I could bake the world’s best GF bread. I went on the website for Orgran and found a nice recipe that seemed simple enough to follow. What the recipe DOES NOT tell us newbs is that the flour feels very sticky and you can’t get it off until you wash it off. I baked it for the allotted 30-35 minutes and the center was STILL wet. I have never had this much trouble with flour yet! It behaves just like my 8YO and that is not a compliment. My bread did not look like this one………..*sour grapes* NB:

Needless to say, I will not be using this flour again. I have instead found Ezekiel bread in the frozen section of the supermarket and will be buying that for future reference. It would be nice to keep trying until I get it right……but at $15 a box….I might as well purchase already done bread and spare myself the heart break.

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Five Things About Being Single (at 40)

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No one ever gives you a manual for life. In fact you just kinda wing it and hopefully you make the best decision at the time for all concerned. As the New Year started, I realized that I needed to make a very major change in my life before I turned 40 and that was asking my husband, of nine years, for a divorce! It was not an easy decision but when all you have are more pain than laughter you know it is over. There was no third party involved. It just was not working. I wanted to move on and be done with it.

Here are five things that I discovered no one ever tells you about being single when you are 40.

1. You are single – Yes, even when you are separated and you know it, the painful reminder that you are suddenly single comes up at the most inopportune time. Like the first week after I had moved out, I had to kill a centipede all on my own. Scared as hell, I did it anyway, because I could no longer call on my husband to do it. Do you know what I discovered? I didn’t need to. I killed that sucker and left the remains for the birds!!!!

The other things no one reminds you about being single is that irregardless of what you think, it does get easier, even when it was your decision to be single. You will be happy again one day. Your children will not hate you. Your in-laws are not as important as they think. Life does go on. You are free to choose the next path!

2. Children – Your children either become very distant or they cling tightly. In my case it was the latter.

The children lived through the horrible arguments and I knew it was unfair to subject them to it for much longer. So I not only asked for the divorce, I moved out three months later.

I never asked them to choose sides, but every time I dropped them by their dad for his visitation time, they would get a sad look in their eyes. Whenever they came home, it was hours of clinging and hugs and kisses.

I had suggested a 4/3 split of the week with my ex and that worked out fine but the days alone were hard. The silence was deafening.

The first night was the hardest, but it got easier by the second night. On the third night, I was wondering how the hell I never realized how much fun it was to be alone. Reality hit when I realized that the children were returning the next night.

3. Peace – The quiet at night was great after the third night. I no longer had to come home to tension in the house or face harsh words because of my decision to live a separate life.

The routine at my house was bedtime during the week was 8:30pm and on weekends by 9:30pm. The kids no longer resisted bed time, they did assigned chores without fuss and generally we have a peaceful existence.

In fact, I would say that I had very little reason to quarrel with the children and it was unnerving! There was a good chance, I created many opportunities to yell at them but they never took me on. #MajorErr

4. Friends – It is difficult to move on with your life while you wait for the year long separation to end and the divorce proceedings to begin. However, you find that your friends are the best resources to lean on during these tough times.

Never be afraid to ask for help. When someone says to you “if you need anything, ask”, you should do it. This was my saving grace on many nights during the first two weeks after I had moved out. Whether it was a lift somewhere or a telephone call to talk about the weather, laughter with friends (and children) become the best medicine in the world and healing can begin.

5. Dating – No one tells you what to expect when you start to see someone new. Times have changed so much from 10 years ago with so many ways to communicate that it is virtually impossible not to speak to a love interest.

The main lesson I learned about dating while newly single is that it has its moments. You are faced with insecurities and fears that have to be tempered all the time. A bit of self doubt creeps in and you worry about the first time this new person sees you naked!

In any event, the best advice is to take it slowly and enjoy the time because when you least expect it you may find someone you least expect to be that special person in your life. Now that I am ready to date, I am hoping either Shemar Moore or Mark Wahlberg will also become single so we can have a chat!!!!

I don’t proclaim to know the answers to everything, but these five things helped me to make steady progress during the separation phase. By the time I had moved out, there was no crying, no remorse, no hard feelings. Just a relief that I was finally out from the regimen of the slow death of the marriage. Watching it die was more painful that leaving. Harsh, but true.

Look out for more Girl Interrupted as she blogs about her newly single status! Catching the bus! Doing drop the kids drop off! Lots to talk about. I had to take a break to work through this process before I could even discuss it in public!

Happy to say that it’s a work in progress and I am still here.

Anyone out there facing similar situations can email at girlinterruptedtoo@gmail.com. I would love to hear your stories.

Girl Interrupted stars in “My Gluten Free Life”

We all think that our children will be perfect and nothing bad could touch them. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. My second child (better known as the 8YO) has had everything in the book – from night terrors to thumb sucking and asthma.

Last week the 8YO was hospitalized with a chest infection. Yesterday, on the insistence of his paternal grandmother, we took him to a Complementary doctor who did a blood sample and showed us how his body is actually out of balance. Thankfully, there were no issues with his blood but we had to do an allergy test.

The allergy test was conducted and as it turns out it seems that we have been feeding the child toxins all these years, not intentionally, but unknowingly. Here are the major things he’s allergic to:-

Squash, Airborne allergens (plant based), vinegar based stuff, detergents (he can only use hypoallergenic – Dreft and Ivory come to mind), thyme, tomatoes (no ketchup or BBQ sauce), dill, eggplant (night shade foods), saccharine, PORK, CURRY powder (how is this not encoded into his DNA), cat hair, peaches, penicillin, string beans, pollen, oranges, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, SHELLFISH, Codfish, pasteurized milk, malt, carrots, PARSLEY, radish, EGGS!

We have to clean his mattress every week with tea tree oil, lavender and baking soda, sprinkle, leave for a few hours and then vacuum. The mattress also needs to be turned every week.

We have to eliminate all of the above food items for 4-6 weeks. We can then reintroduce some of the foods (no gluten) one at a time (just like he’s a newborn) to see which are His vitamins and minerals are low and he is gluten sensitive! She re-balanced his system (something to do with histamines).

So like any Type A parent, we headed for the Natural food stores to purchase everything Gluten related because I have to support my “baby”. I bought Coconut flour, gluten free oats, a few natural fruit juice boxes and loads of fruit. It’s amazing when we shopped how some products will say gluten free but contain sugar or an ingredient from the list above that he could not eat. This made shopping depressing but I did put a positive spin to it.

Cooking gluten free will take some getting used to. Breakfast was interesting to say the least. He hated the oats because he could not have any sweetener and I have never actually cooked oats (I always bought instant) so it was not perfect. I tried my hand at coconut banana bread but that coconut flour will take some getting used to…..it was grainy and did not come out perfect. The 8YO still ate a couple slices but I almost gagged on taste….great smell though. After the failed Gluten morning, I gave him some watermelon and cantaloupe which he gladly devoured. Thankfully, lunch was much better. We both had a simple meal of sweet potato with lemon pepper chicken.

In between lunch and dinner he started to feel a bit sad because he has all these other snacks that he can’t eat. However, I took him for a drive and that cheered him up a bit. For dinner, we had a cup of lemon grass tea sans sugar and he actually drank it (I supported him and drank tea sans sweetener) and it was not bad. We had a bit of microwave popcorn (which contains milk, so no more of that) while watching a movie.

After the movie, my 8YO looked for recipes on his own to make Gluten pancakes without eggs. We found a great recipe and if I am brave enough (and it looks good) I will post about it.

Check out this blog for more on “My Gluten Free Life” as I track and try to remove Gluten from my diet to support my son. If you have any tips (or good recipes) please share them here.

Until next time, I am Girl Interrupted “My Gluten Free Life”

Divorce and Abuse

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I never knew the name of what I felt. In fact, that would be inaccurate because I knew the name just never attributed it to my life. For years I stayed silent and just watched as the entire relationship continued to disintegrate. Abuse. A five letter word that is short but speaks volumes even to those who not only read it but live it every day.

In retrospect, people ask you “Why did you stay?” and your answer is non-existent because even you are not sure why you stayed. Was it fear for your life? Or was it because you thought you had to make it work? Whatever the reasons I believe that you only stay until staying is not an option any more.

There were 14 turbulent years of aggressive shouting matches back and forth and what started with being grabbed and pushed around. Never a lash to the body but many threats to by way of being grabbed by both shoulders and shaken or pushed around, or having that person’s hand landing very near to your body as a way to show you how hard you could have been hit. These actions made you scared and angry at the same time but at the time you had an 18 month old to deal with and had already given up your life to move to another country. Maybe reasoning would help and for a while it would until the next time.

Sometimes you miss the little signs but then again that’s a lie. Thinking back to the arguments that erupted even during the dating phase and realize that the writing was on the proverbial wall. Times when your gut told you to get out but you stayed hoping it would get better. Or maybe that time you were given a new phone by a client and the jealously came out and you were cursed every which way. Eleven years later the option of relocating to a foreign country to get a fresh start became a farce because that chip on the shoulder reared its ugly head and every attempt at success became a nightmare.

They say that turning a major milestone can have a profound effect on your life. For me it was turning 40 and finding my spiritual balance. I looked at what my life would be in 10 years if I remained in this relationship and did not like what I saw. It would be the same angry existence and I was raising two children – one of each gender. What kind of lessons was I teaching them? To my daughter, was I teaching her to stay regardless of how bad it got and that it was the way a man would treat her? To my son, was I teaching him that this is how you proved your manhood? To be aggressive and abusive in the name of love? Was this how he would treat other women?

Having had to cope with both physical and emotional abuse was not an easy task. Being told you were nothing or that you came from nothing did not sit well and slowly your self-esteem dropped to low levels. Where was the girl of 1990? Surely she was lost forever but there were bits of her somewhere, hiding, scared to even look out.

Having gone through a fairly unpleasant but not nasty divorce you learn a few things about yourself and your spouse.

1. The abuser will never see himself in that role. In fact, he will genuinely tell people that he has no idea why the divorce occurred.

2. The battle of who gets the friends can be a silent one that you are not even aware of. Everyone takes sides and those who do not, ignore you.

3. Your married friends suddenly treat you differently. They no longer invite you to their parties and you are left in limbo because suddenly you are the third wheel.

4. Getting involved in a new relationship, even six months to a year later can have both great and disastrous consequences. The new guy has to be really strong and understanding and that can be difficult at times on both sides.

5. Your kids can be strong and resilient but that doesn’t mean they are not hurting. They hate when you cry and sometimes provide comfort like no one can because their love for you is different.

6. You learn how to fix things you never had to like plumbing and furniture. In fact that pretty much sums up your day but it is rewarding because you get a sense of achievement at the end.

7. Your ex husband will still be bitter and abusive AFTER the divorce. Mine took to cursing me out once and then banging up my car in anger with his fists. He later denied this to the police just like he denied we were having problems.

8. Former in-laws and family will be bitter and treat you like the pariah because you dared to break up your family. Suddenly you are called every name in the book.

9. Your ex husband still feels he is entitled to details of your life so he turns to emotional blackmail of the kids. He would also tell them that the reason you are not a family anymore “is because of mummy”. Thankfully, the kids are old enough to separate fact from fiction even if they say nothing.

10. The decision to leave was the best decision for everyone concerned even if they don’t realize it yet.

Can abuse continue after divorce? In my case, yes. However, I choose not to give him any more power over my emotions and am taking slow steps to regain myself. Maybe it was the shock of the attack that sent me reeling into that dark place but no more. I have to be strong and fight this battle on my own.

If you have a story to share, please do by emailing girlinterruptedtoo@gmail.com.

Giving up Facebook

singleMy subject line is technically incorrect because I cannot give up Facebook entirely. Having recently been provided with a few social media accounts, I use it for work purposes. What I have given up is my personal postings and sharing of information that I find online with my friends.

I have been using Facebook to sometimes retaliate on people that have annoyed me or when I feel like I have been shut out of someone’s life and that is not the main purpose for it. It’s to be social not anti-social.

There is no reason why, if my boyfriend annoys me that I should post an article that speaks to whether he truly loves me or not. Of course he loves me but at that point he annoyed me, the world doesn’t need to know that!

The funny thing is that now that I have “given up Facebook” I have seen so many great things to post but have refused so here are a few things I have noticed now that I have given up Facebook. For instance, I had to log into the Canada Revenue Agency this morning for the first time online. They sent me an email at 5:30am and I tried to log on at 5:45am but received a message that the website was closed and opens at 6am. How come one side is open and the other is closed? If this was in the Caribbean, where I am from I would utter the words “Government”!

I could comment on when I heard the dogs barking this morning and looked outside, saw the Meter reader from the Water Authority taking his monthly counts. I thought how archaic but I guess he is here before 6am and it provides employment so…..Or how both children woke up at 6:03am and immediately started arguing. I immediately rushed to drink my coffee, finish this post and give them both “the look”. Nothing like kids with your coffee…..makes it go faster. The argument was about who would shower first and that never happens.

I spent time with my son watching the first season in a series called Allegiance. If you have not watched it, please do, it’s great and the lead male, although not Channing Tatum hot, has a nice charm.

In all honesty, I feel free to just be. This has been a rough week emotionally which I will have to write about but I no longer feel the need to act passive/aggressive towards my friends via social media. No hints. No digs. No drama. That is probably the best lesson the past four (4) days have taught me.

There are probably more but I have noticed but the children are up and that means breakfast on the table and the mad rush to get out of the house (who am I kidding, it’s vacation time).

Until next time,

GI

What Divorce Taught Me.

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When you make a decision to end your marriage, the first thoughts are how you can get away from the person making you miserable and the arguments will end. However, it is the little things post-separation that begin to gnaw at you.

During my 18 months of being separated, my ex-husband did everything in his power to make me miserable, very subtly through the kids. He would make snide comments about the fact that he wasn’t the one to break up our family or he would accuse me of being unfaithful. Thankfully, the kids are at an age where they were able to see him for what he was and ignored the snide comments. Then I had to deal with the in-laws who would also make nasty comments to the kids, but never to my face. Many nights were spent crying over how broken my 10 year old was and so to help her I spent one year trying to undo the emotional damage they insisted on effecting with counselling for both the kids and myself.

It is best to know that this is when I found myself. I realized how much I enjoyed not having to come home to an unmade bed, or dishes in the sink. I didn’t have to deal with arguments about insignificant things or battles about bedtime and who’s turn it was to do the dishes. Instead what I found was a new perspective on relationships. Some six months into my separation, I met a wonderful man, who not only taught me about what it meant to be loved unconditionally but how to adapt to being on my own. He taught me selflessness and patience. We cooked, laughed and played together and there was this void suddenly filled and I had no idea why or how.

I also charged a new spiritual journey that began when I was in Canada and ended with me being baptized. It was one of the best decisions I had ever made, with the second being the end of my 10 year old marriage. Here are some of the things that divorce taught me.

1. Divorce taught me that I was a control freak but had to let go the reins and learn to relax and be patient even with a new relationship.

2. Divorce taught me to be independent and alone. This is especially hard because I am a people person and enjoy having someone to talk to. Yet I was alone for the first time in 12 years and after the kids were put to bed, there was no one to talk to for a few months and I felt alone.

3. Divorce taught me that to get through the pain of being alone with no support where I lived, I had to dig deep to find a few hours of solitude and do me. It brought out feelings of insecurity about self and abilities. I felt judged more than ever and recoiled from the world and everything familiar to my life pre-divorce.

4. Divorce taught me that I could not depend on my companion to heal the pain of my failed marriage. That’s why there are therapists. After several months in weekly sessions, I realized that I could not get over this pain in a short period of time but rather it would take time to heal and I had to let it (control freak curbed).

5. Divorce taught me to love again. Strange but true. While it might sound like a line, 18 months later, I have opened my heart in many ways to new experiences.

Don’t get me wrong. I still have a long way to go and for all intents and purposes I have no idea where this road will take me. Yet for me the questions still arise. Will I marry again? Maybe, if he asks. Will I have another child? Maybe, if the circumstances were favourable.

I used to think that my companion and I would ride off into the sunset once my divorce was final but even now that is a rocky decision. We have been through many challenges for a new couple (ex-husband making snide comments to new partner included) continue to face new challenges (aging, work life balance and children) and sometimes I am not sure what to make of it. What I do know is that what lies ahead is not for either of us to decide but to let a higher power steer us in the right direction.

Divorce has taught me that dating anyone is a challenge because of the emotional roller coaster you get on. Yet, I am not sad that I ended it just sad that I am not married. I don’t miss my ex but I do miss the institution of marriage. However, I get through I know that I will be alright.

Braised Country-Style BBQ Ribs

I love ribs……..

The Domestic Man

As you may remember from my Roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe from a couple weeks ago, I’ve been tinkering with the new Sharp convection microwave, running it through its paces to see how it can apply to an everyday kitchen. In addition to your typical microwave features, the convection microwave also acts as a convection oven and a roaster.

So when coming up with possible recipe ideas, I decided to make a dish that is just about the opposite of what you’d expect to come out of a microwave – barbecue ribs. The microwave worked exceptionally well, since the convection feature tenderized the ribs and the roaster crisped them up before serving. Conventional oven instructions are also provided below.

Country-style ribs were an easy choice, since they’re connective tissue breaks down during the braising phase, which creates very tender ribs with minimal time. They are cut from the pig’s shoulder…

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