Friday, February 15, 2008

Slowly They Turned...Step by Step...Inch by Inch...

Marriage is comprised of compromises, great and small. Anyone married to someone else for almost twenty five years has had at least a brush or two with the necessity of compromise. I have to confess to one of the most challenging marital compromises of all: The Three Stooges. Okay, show of hands. Who gets The Stooges? Un, huh. Just as I thought. Not a woman raised her hand. It's definitely a guy thing. More specifically, it's a Tool Guy thing. Fortunately, he doesn't inflict it on me very often. More frequently than his passion for The Stooges, he's conscientiously curbing his passion for jazz music when I'm around. Yah, I know, I have no taste, but I just don't groove music that doesn't have words...what can I say? It's just that since The Stooges is a guy thing (are a guy thing?), then all members with some semblance of testosterone running around their little bodies seem to share an absolute appreciation for the mystique that is The Stooges. See the power of role-modeling? Fortunately, this kind of imprinting hasn't led to the reproduction of any stooges in our house, much to the advantage of Tool Guy's prospective longevity...he does have a spectacular life insurance policy and a girl can only withstand just so much temptation. And so, I want gluten free Brownie points for my liberal, tolerant, and inclusive attitude that accommodates the occasional Stooge-fest. I flee to my sanctuary, closing the door on the grinding repetition of "Slowly they turned...step by step...inch by inch..." and turn up Chris Rice's "That's What a Heart is Beating For." With my headphones on. Natch.

But things are turning around, step by step and inch by inch. It's been a very slow process and continues to be so. We've just passed our anniversary for the Everything Free diagnosis. Five years, dear Breatharian, and six years of gluten-freeness! I have to indulge a wry smile when I think of the conversation I had with my stunned father, poring over the thick diagnostic booklet and boggling over all of the foods to have to pull. I faithfully parroted the laboratory's doctrinal statement: "Hey, Dad, I know it's grim, but it's only for four months. Six, tops! We can do it for six months!" Oh, the naivete. So yeah, it's taken just a touch longer than I had imagined in my most far-flung dreams, but we're getting there. These days, I don't think in terms of "how much longer will it be?" though sometimes Dog I have a crystal ball, you know? I can't fault him, though, since I'm his primary teacher and question answerer. I suppose it is easy to take the impression that all the answers are right at hand and simply need to be Googled up upon demand. But this is a question I can't even estimate an answer to, I've been wrong so many times. Back when we first started, I was thinking in terms of months and for a very long time I hoped that this would be the month--then this would be the year--that it would all be over. These days, my goals are much more modest. I'd like one or two new foods back in per year. And it's happening, step by step and inch by inch.

The newest successful food are seeds. So we're livin' it up! Sesame seed oil in our stir fries, handfuls of sunflower seeds to munch, and since nuts are still off the menu, desperation...oops!...inspiration struck and I decided to try my hand at making pumpkin seed butter. Have food processor, will cook dangerously--and Breatharian, you know when I'm around sharp implements, it's dangerous! The subsequent pumpkin seed butter wasn't as smooth commercial alternative butters, but the next time I do this, I think I'll be using my steel burr grain mill instead of my food processor. As the Glutenator says, "E3!" (Experiment, experiment, experiment!)

Pumpkin Seed Butter

2 cups pumpkin seed
1 cup or sufficient to make smooth of rice bran or other oil
1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
1 T maple syrup or to taste

Dump it all in the food processor and blend it to death until it is as smooth as you'd like it. The Hobbits found it tasty to have on Edward & Son's plain rice snaps.

Everyone is inching forward these days. I look at Dog and I can't even see the little one who used to line up cars endlessly or run through the house, flapping his hands in front of him. These days he's working on his own graphic novel for a character he calls Wind Rider and is developing an appreciation for Sherlock Holmes. Bug is working his way through a rough social patch, but his speech has very little of the halting monotone of mispronunciations he used to struggle with. And his reading is coming together. Henry and Mudge have become his very favorite people and he's finally found a passion in books. I felt my heart soar when he snagged Princess up and held her a quite willing hostage while he read his way through the entire book, with only three intermissions to get a prompt for a tough word. He's finding his place in a family of passionate readers! And Princess, who has had the benefit of being Everything Free since birth and before, just cruises through life enjoying the usual passions and enduring the usual bumps of an almost five year old.

Is this what normal looks like? Well, maybe not, but I can see it from here.

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