You and me both, Al.

Tolerance

It doesn’t seem fair to give these Vanilla Sandwich Cremes from Schar a bad rating, since—especially since, shortly after my boyfriend gifted them to me, the box was empty and all the cookies that had once called it home were slowly dissolving in my stomach juices.

I didn’t really like the taste, but I ate them all.  And then I wore the empty box as a cast for a while.

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#recycle

What are some new ways to say “chalky”?  I feel like I’ve already discussed—both at length and repeatedly, over the course of many posts—how gluten-free snacks tend to leave a specific and unpleasant residue in your mouth.  

Synonym-driven thoughts related to Schar whatsits:

  • they are sugar squares spiked with dust
  • keep milk or something handy or the dehydrating effect will be such that you won’t be able to unhinge your jaw
  • not enough “creme”
  • hard semi-sweetness + powdery aftertaste = severe dry mouth
  • granular, grubby, sandy, sooty, unclean,undusted, unswept
  • vanilla dirt
I think that sums it up. 
Still, if you’re like me, and enjoy eating cookies even if you have to block out the current experience and project onto it memories of Girl Scout deliveries, or whatever, then you will probably be perfectly happy eating Char Vanilla Creme Sandwiches.
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Me using the empty box as a phone with which to say, “Thank you!” to my beautiful boyfriend, who I’ve disguised here as a leprechaun uni-bomber.
Take away the toast (ugh gimme toast) and you’ve got a perfect gluten-free breakfast!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, TUMMIES.

*Beautiful thumb courtesy of boyfriend

Take away the toast (ugh gimme toast) and you’ve got a perfect gluten-free breakfast!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, TUMMIES.

*Beautiful thumb courtesy of boyfriend

Milwaukee Still Doubtful About Existence of Gluten

Milwaukee Still Doubtful About Existence of Gluten

Merry Christmas!

These are the worst bars ever.

Shame on you, Michael Smulders.

Merry Peanut Butter

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Me on my exercise ball thinking about peanut butter.

When I was little I had trouble making friends because I enjoyed solitary activities such as building “ant castles” out of grass or eating peanut butter with my bare hands.  On the rare occasions that children my age would agree to come over, I would propose games like this one: “Why don’t we take this jar of peanut butter, eat as much as we can, and whoever’s mouth gets stuck first wins?”  

I still love peanut butter but have recently found that eating it from the actual jar in huge quantities leads to balance/coordination issues/my butt becoming a swollen entity with a mind of its own.  Enough spoonfuls and I’m walking along knocking staplers off coworkers’ desks.  My body and my butt become two separate animals.  You can hear my stomach growling through my butt from like five yards off (digestion issues from the glue-like peanut butter), and in general I meander around like two people in a horse costume, only one of them is on roller skates and the other is walking on stilts.

Anyway, it really helps when I can find gluten-free items that taste like peanut butter, but are secretly made of dates or whatever.  Larabar’s peanut butter cookie is nice.  Really nice. So is their peanut butter jelly thing.  But peanut butter Clif Bars will stick in your stomach like cement, and, Luna Bar, Clif’s more “ladylike” spinoff, is equally treacherous—at least for me.  Like Clif, Luna Bar is mostly rice but not exactly gluten free, and comes in peanut butter flavors.  I ate one the other day and almost pooped myself on the subsequent walk to work—only I didn’t poop myself, which was a major triumph for me.

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Let’s take a moment of silence to commemorate my victory.

Also, to Clif’s credit, after taking over both healthy male and female demographics (classic Clif, and Luna Bar, respectively), they’ve also reached out to those of us with spiders in our stomachs.  Kit’s Organic is a gluten-free alternative to the other bars.  It is shockingly tiny (maybe three inches long?) and not very good.  Greasier and less convincingly peanut buttery than the Larabar versions.  

So, in conclusion, Clif can suck both of my dicks.  But a big thank you to my boyfriend for providing all the promotional materials (bars) described herein!

I love you, man. 

Happy Hanukkah from San Francisco!

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Turkeys are gluten-free!

Good Taste in the Big Easy

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My boyfriend and I just got back from New Orleans, where, among other things, we tried on a lot of masks.

He also got me pretty much every Larabar that I haven’t sampled yet so I could enjoy well rounded breakfasts and potentially adjust my attitude regarding Larabar.

Here are the results!

Cherry Pie: like the sticky sweet skin of a corpse

Pecan Pie: palatable but a little weird—kind of like uncooked pie crust?

Peanut Butter Cookie: OH MY GOD SO GOOD TASTES LIKE PEANUT BUTTER MY FAVORITE FOOD and great with coffee

Peanut Butter and Jelly: actually tastes like PB&J (my favorite food for eight years before I came to associate it with sandwiches/bread/the stuff that made me shart myself semi-regularly) and I love it

Apple Pie: hard to place this one…tastes a little bit like a fermented paper bag

Conclusion: this holiday season, I am thankful for my handsome boyfriend—pictured here wearing a particularly fetching mask and standing in front of a butt sculpture.

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Above: Nana and Papa serve me gluten-free breakfast atop the printed out pages of their various grandchildren’s’ blogs.
Going to see my grandparents is the social highlight of my month. They are both in their mid-eighties, which basically means they are time travelers. This makes them more interesting than anyone I know.
Me: So was it really like in Mad Men, where nobody wore their seat belts?
Nana: The kids would crawl around the seats like animals. Sometimes I would give them dramamine so they would stop crawling. Shelly had a bad reaction once and it made her crawl even faster.
Papa: We threw all our garbage straight out the window. Right onto the highway.
Me: Did you have pets in the car, too?
Papa: I don’t remember. Margie, you love animals.
Nana: I do. I really do.
Me: Nana, did you have a lot of animals growing up?
Papa: Oh, she loved animals.
Nana: I had a dog but the neighbor killed it.
Me: Wait what?
Nana: He kept goats. He gave me one of his goats but it turned out you had to bottle feed it three times a day. I brought it back and then he killed my dog.
Me: It sounds like he might have been in love with you.
Nana: Oh I don’t know about that.
Papa: People have always been in love with your Nana.
Me: Papa, I bet before you came along it was crazy.
Papa: Even after. You know our friend John Tucker?
Me: You mean that old man who comes on family vacations with us?
Papa: I always tell him, “John, you son of a bitch, I’m going to outlive you, and you’ll never get my wife.” Ha! [Glances casually at Nana.] We need to see if he’s still alive.
Nana: Oh yes. It’s been three days.
Me: [Laughing uncomfortably at the uncomfortable realization that they are so old that three days is a long time and pretty much everyone they’ve ever known is dead.]
Papa: Now what are you giggling about, you little silly?
Me: I just love you guys is all.
Nana: We love you so much.
Papa: Yes, you’re just fine. Now eat some bread.
Me: Right. Thanks so much for getting me gluten-free bred. And gluten-free crackers. And cookies… [Making grateful noises while chewing] This is great bread. It tastes like the real thing.
Papa: Well you know you’re meant to take it with you when you leave. The whole rest of the loaf.
Me: Oh, I couldn’t. Don’t you want it?
Papa: [Disgusted] I’m not fixing to eat any of that gluten whatever bread.
Me: I love you.
Nana: There’s an apricot muffin for your breakfast, honey. It doesn’t have any gluten either, does it Russ?
Papa: No. It doesn’t.
Me: I love you both so much.
Papa: Well we love you too, all right? You make us feel young. Now keep eating all that bread. There you go.

Above: Nana and Papa serve me gluten-free breakfast atop the printed out pages of their various grandchildren’s’ blogs.

Going to see my grandparents is the social highlight of my month. They are both in their mid-eighties, which basically means they are time travelers. This makes them more interesting than anyone I know.

Me: So was it really like in Mad Men, where nobody wore their seat belts?

Nana: The kids would crawl around the seats like animals. Sometimes I would give them dramamine so they would stop crawling. Shelly had a bad reaction once and it made her crawl even faster.

Papa: We threw all our garbage straight out the window. Right onto the highway.

Me: Did you have pets in the car, too?

Papa: I don’t remember. Margie, you love animals.

Nana: I do. I really do.

Me: Nana, did you have a lot of animals growing up?

Papa: Oh, she loved animals.

Nana: I had a dog but the neighbor killed it.

Me: Wait what?

Nana: He kept goats. He gave me one of his goats but it turned out you had to bottle feed it three times a day. I brought it back and then he killed my dog.

Me: It sounds like he might have been in love with you.

Nana: Oh I don’t know about that.

Papa: People have always been in love with your Nana.

Me: Papa, I bet before you came along it was crazy.

Papa: Even after. You know our friend John Tucker?

Me: You mean that old man who comes on family vacations with us?

Papa: I always tell him, “John, you son of a bitch, I’m going to outlive you, and you’ll never get my wife.” Ha! [Glances casually at Nana.] We need to see if he’s still alive.

Nana: Oh yes. It’s been three days.

Me: [Laughing uncomfortably at the uncomfortable realization that they are so old that three days is a long time and pretty much everyone they’ve ever known is dead.]

Papa: Now what are you giggling about, you little silly?

Me: I just love you guys is all.

Nana: We love you so much.

Papa: Yes, you’re just fine. Now eat some bread.

Me: Right. Thanks so much for getting me gluten-free bred. And gluten-free crackers. And cookies… [Making grateful noises while chewing] This is great bread. It tastes like the real thing.

Papa: Well you know you’re meant to take it with you when you leave. The whole rest of the loaf.

Me: Oh, I couldn’t. Don’t you want it?

Papa: [Disgusted] I’m not fixing to eat any of that gluten whatever bread.

Me: I love you.

Nana: There’s an apricot muffin for your breakfast, honey. It doesn’t have any gluten either, does it Russ?

Papa: No. It doesn’t.

Me: I love you both so much.

Papa: Well we love you too, all right? You make us feel young. Now keep eating all that bread. There you go.

What Am I Getting At Here?

Sometimes homesickness leads to gluten sickness.

It turns out it’s hard to make new friends after moving to a new place if the only people you see on a daily basis are your coworkers and the schizophrenic street people prowling the path you take to those coworkers, and if you don’t live in a real “neighborhood” per se.

I basically live at the mall.  When I walk out the front door of my apartment building people dart around me in a frenzy, laden with shopping bags, shouting about extra value meals.  My apartment is conveniently situated between a Burger King and a Forever 21, if that helps conjure it for you.

I live on the eighth floor. Sometimes as I step over the threshold into my living room there’s this moment where I can still hear the distant rumble of shoppers down below and I pretend there’s a riot going on and I’m conveniently stranded at the top of a very tall tower—where, in any other circumstance, I might see myself as trapped.  My heart yells, “Pull up the drawbridge! Loose the alligators into the moat!” and I yank the door closed behind me with a whoosh and a thunk, smiling like a crazy person.

My boyfriend gets home from work before I do. He watches me come in—sees my expression askew, my heart beating in my neck—and runs over, asking softly, “What is it, honey bunches of oats? What’s on my baby’s mind?”

And then: “Honey, put me down, please?”—because in my animal excitement I have yanked him off the ground.  I’m not particularly brawny but I’ve heard that in moments of real panic human beings are capable of great strength.  

You know the stories.  Cars crash into water, some ten-year-old escapes and pedals to the surface, gasping—then dives back down into the dark, like a million meters or whatever, to bust through the driver’s window with her tiny fists and unbuckle her mother.  

So I put down my boyfriend eventually, but not before injuring my lower back with a bear hug that speaks loudly of a certain kind of loneliness—one that comes from being almost constantly surrounded by bodies without anyone to actually talk to. My coworkers clock out at 5PM, wave goodbye, and step out into their private lives.  The unmedicated personalities I encounter at pedestrian crossings on my way to the office change so rapidly and shout such offensive things that it is hard to get attached.  I am a secret fan of the elderly man I saw today wearing a “NO SEX” placard who rolled his eyes and roared at me, “You rub your butt on your sister!” (which is true).  But that doesn’t mean I want to sit down and have a heart-to-heart with him.  And heart-to-hearts are basically the only form of conversation I’m interested in.

In other words, I have grown ornery—which is the word for lonely if your loneliness has aged like cheese to the point of reeking. Lonely for what my psychologist affectionately calls, “human interaction.” So a few weeks ago I blurted out to one of my coworkers that I missed all my friends and had nothing to do—knowing full well that his girlfriend would call me that weekend out of pity and invite me somewhere, which she did.

We went to Delores Park and unfurled fleece blankets. It was unseasonably warm and the manicured grounds were packed—though not as crowded as Central Park or The High Line would have been on such a day, which was a relief because it made me feel slightly less nostalgic for New York. Other girls showed up and chattered back and forth about “last Friday”, when apparently someone had gotten black out drunk, and that was unexpected, so they were laughing. They drank and I smiled frantically, fighting the urge to throw my arms around each of them—not because I loved them or was desperate to be there, but because I wasn’t sure how else to interact. It had been a while since I’d done anything, really, with anyone but my boyfriend. With him I have the kind of rapport where physical touch often replaces the need for verbalization. They were all talking about people I didn’t know. I was having trouble finding the words.

Just then a teenage girl scampered by wearing a long skirt—her elbow crooked under the handle of a wicker basket the size of a rolled up sleeping bag.

"Edibles?" she asked brightly, making eye contact with each of us. She swiftly turned her gaze to the next blanket of strangers. "Edibles?" Within a few seconds she was gone.

"What are edibles?" I asked. My new friends explained the concept to me.  

Why did not everyone want these edibles? I wondered.

"We grew up here," they explained.  

"Old hat, eh?" I punched one of them playfully in the arm because I don’t know how to make friends. "Well, I grew up in Wisconsin, so"—before I could finish the thought I was sprinting toward the teenage angel with the giant basket.

"Are they gluten-free?" I asked sheepishly, holding out a wad of cash.

She bit her lip. “Eh, maybe?”

"So, no." I smiled, trying to look nonchalant. San Franciscans are notoriously accommodating of practically any food preference. But I still worry that I’ll sound like an annoying fad dieter.

Plus I was buying edibles. I wanted to sound cool and use all the right lingo. “Well, whatever,” I said, making a small, pfft noise. “Let’s do this thang—thing.” She shrugged, I shrugged. Five bucks exchanged hands. I crammed the whole edible thing in my mouth and walked back to my blanket, where I silently laid down and spread my body into a sort of plus sign position while the girls around me laughed about other things.

About an hour later someone asked me, quietly and nonjudgementally, “So, how ya doing?” I recognized the tone—it’s one I’ve grown used to since moving here.  It’s a native San Franciscan tone—belonging to a voice that has since childhood shrugged off bearded drag queens, men lounging in the Castro wearing only their cock rings, and women pooping in plain view on the sidewalk.  A tone that has seen everything, presumes to judge nothing, and yet fends off heart-to-hearts by saying things like, “How ya doing?” instead of, “Are you okay?” “Are you freaking out?” “Are you about to shit yourself?” Because it wants the answer to none of these things.

"So, how ya doing?" she asked again.  

My stomach growled and I beamed, squinting at the clouds just beyond her interesting hair. “Well it kind of feels like I ate a brick,” I told her. “But man is that sky is pleasant as fuck.”