Sunday 16 December 2012

"Bravery never goes out of fashion."

Travelling is tricky for people with Celiacs. It can be very easy to fall into the trap of never leaving your house. Indeed, I know many Celiacs that do just that. They don’t go anywhere, they don’t travel and they eat every meal at home – intent to control everything that enters their body. From someone who has been poisoned by restaurants and hotels alike, I see the draw. However, we get this one life. Just one. And I cannot imagine a worse life than one without adventure.

I am bound and determined to NOT be frightened to leave the house, the city or the country and eat. Well, that’s not true. To be honest, I’m terrified but as I try to teach my spawn, being brave doesn’t mean you aren’t frightened, it means that you are frightened but do it anyway. Be brave people; be daring, live your life to the fullest and the world shall reward your soul. Will it reward your small intestine though? Ah, tis the question isn’t it?

You certainly can be adventurous even if you have Celiac Disease. You CAN be daring IF you prepare ahead of time. I know right? Doesn’t that take the fun out of it? It takes the fun out of it but it’s putting the safety back. And safety my intesitianly broken friends, is JUST what the Celiac ordered.    

For Christmas this year, Trev and I have decided to take the spawn to Mexico.  It was an exhaustive search to find a resort that I can stay at. It’s tough because I cannot eat off of a buffet. No matter how far the bread station is from the fruit, I assure you some complete dolt of a human being will manage to mix up the tongs. No amount of assurances will EVER make a Celiac comfortable to eat at a buffet table.

 We have chosen the all inclusive resort of DREAMS TULUM to stay at. I have contacted the food and beverage manager who has been more than happy to answer all my questions and assure me and my travel agent that they have no intentions of ruining my holiday. In fact, they have made it VERY clear that I am going to have a fabulous time and they are totally confident in the fact that I will not get sick. The food and beverage manager will meet me upon arrival to further discuss everything – sounds awesome right? Let’s hope they know what they are doing!

Side note – this was a far better response than we got from the (very expensive) private transfer company that is taking us to and from the airport. When our TA sent an e-mail confirming our arrival times and our destination etc etc, the company wrote back,

 “Greetings from Cancun! Don’t worry; I’m sure it will be fine.”

 Cracks me up.

ANYWAY….I am thrilled to go on vacation and I will not let my Celiacs stand in my way of enjoying a wonderful holiday with my family. I will be keeping you updated on here dear reader so stay posted after the holidays for my detailed review of everywhere I eat.

  I truly hope that DREAMS TULUM proves to be a paradise for Celiacs.

 Celiacs, I beg of you, don’t be afraid to leave your home and venture out in the world. As with most things in life, bravery often pays off. Find a little bit of adventure somewhere inside and you will be delighted in what you find outside your comfort zone.

Another year is passing and many good and sad things have happened in the world. Please remember that life is what you make of it. Fill your days with love and laughter and pay close attention to those you hold the dearest for they are what make the season bright.

Wishing you all a truly Merry Christmas filled with love, bravery and lots of booze.
Thank you for your constant readersip and for always laughing at my jokes,
I heart you,

PS The title of this blog post is a quote from a very brave writer, William Makepeace Thakeray. Who did not have Celiacs but as I understand it had horrible digestion problems and a horse. So he didn't let his intestinal weaknesses hinder his travels either! See what I did there? I am SO awesome.


Saturday 1 December 2012

Hamper the Celiacs

Every year, my family and another family go to Stage West (a local dinner theatre) to see a kids Christmas show. The kids get all dressed up and we take over one of the private rooms and let them run wild while we drink coffee and catch up. (Side note - Stage West does provide gluten free meals and it’s not much of a hassle.)

We do this every year in exchange of buying each other’s children gifts and I love the idea. I would much rather pay for an experience with our children than another toy. Let’s face it, by the global scale of things, our children are sick spoiled. Not to say that I am raising a Veruca Salt that needs a long visit to the Chocolate Factory, no, our children are just abundantly blessed – as we their parents are. There have to be thousands of dollars’ worth of toys in their toy room. Holy shit, they have to have a room for all their toys! We aren’t alone either, we are the average for our children’s possession, even a little low compared to some kids we know. But still, my children are blessed.

 I have to say that despite their privilege, my children are not rotten for it. They remain thoughtful and giving and (most importantly) thankful for everything that we give them. As they get older and are beginning to understand currency, I find them to be far more conscious of preserving the quality of purchases.  It makes me bloody proud. They, like many first world children, understand that there are people without the many things they have but I know for them that it seems far away.

Last year, as we were leaving Stage West, all in the giggle glow of seeing a Christmas show, as cheesy and poorly acted as children acts are, we noticed a line of cars running down the inside lane. As we are passing them, it seemed like these cars went on forever. In fact, it took a good seven minutes for us to drive past the line-up of cars to see what they were waiting for. And to be honest, I was a little more than curious, I was a little pissed that I had apparently missed something. What grand Calgary Event was occurring right now that I had not been informed of? All these people were getting to do something that was OBVIOULSY cool and I didn’t.

            They were waiting for the Food Bank.

This line up of cars full of families was waiting to get a Christmas hamper from the Food Bank. This was the most powerful visual we could have offered for our spawn to see the impact of poverty in our city. We sat in stunned silence for a minute, feeling our bellies full of the meal we had just over indulged in. Trev and I had LONG talk with them about what it means to need the Food Bank and WHY you need the Food Bank. We talked about what it would be like to say, “Mom, I’m hungry.” And have me reply, “There is no food today.” And it wouldn’t be because Dad is lazy and just sleeps all day rather than work, it would be because we made the heart wrenching decision to pay for the heat instead of groceries. We would have to CHOOSE between feeding you and making sure you didn’t freeze to death -the thought of which tightens my throat and tears my eyes even as I write it. We showed my spawn that day that hunger doesn’t just happen in a foreign country, it happens here, with people that look and love just like we do.

We talked about how important the Food Bank is to this city for without it, there would be no way for these families to get their hampers. We talked about the volunteers and all the hard work they put in. We talked about how giving your time is sometimes the greatest gift you can offer. It was a very powerful moment in my children’s lives, one they talk about often.

Suddenly though, my son pipes up and says, “but mom, what would we do – how would YOU eat from the food bank.” And a sat stunned. What WOULD I do? I can’t have ninety percent of the items in other family’s pantries. I would be in serious trouble if we ever needed the Food Bank.

This year though, I am thrilled to discover that the Calgary Food Bank offers Gluten Free Hampers. God bless them. Now, Gluten Free food isn’t the cheapest stuff you can buy. I have always said that pound for pound a human organ is cheaper by unit than GF bread. It takes a lot more than just tossing in a box of KD for the food bank but I am going to ask you to splurge a little here.

1 in 133 Canadian’s have this disease, and some of those may fall on hard times every once in a while. They should not be punished. Please, skip buying one of your indulgences this year and grab a gluten free item to add to your local food bank. In Calgary, there is a donation box at the Calgary Gluten Free Store so head in there, buy a few things and make a real difference this Christmas Season.

IF you aren’t from Calgary, please contact your local food bank and discuss GF options for those with Celiac Disease that need Hampers.
And most of all, take a minute, every day, to smile to the depths of your soul and thank whatever power you believe in that gave you the abundances and blessings that you have.

 For it is when we are the least grateful that the universe finds a way to make us so.





Tuesday 13 November 2012

You SHOULD read this post...


I never understand the “SHOULD” person. You know them, we ALL know them. They have this overwhelming desire to share their belief system of opinions with the world, as if the world gives a shit. I find it totally fascinating. Those that stomp through life sniping opinions like bullets at strangers and loved ones alike completely baffle me. They always start the barrage with “you SHOULD.” I know someone who banned the word “should” from her presence claiming that no one gets to “should” all over her– love it.

A woman literally YELLED at me today for jaywalking with my kids. YELLED at me in front of an elementary school for cutting across a residential street while holding the hands of my spawn and chatting brightly about their day. I was totally caught off guard – which I think is one of the SHOULD people's tactics – and basically just ignored her. Of course I SHOULD use the crosswalk, does the lady not think I know that? I, being an adult of sane mind, weighed the distance to the crosswalk versus the following; my lateness for chiro, the heaviness of my kids backpacks (considering scholastic came in today), the thickness of the snow, the presence of that annoying mom standing beside the crosswalk that I can never get out of a conversation with but I don't remember her name, the fact that the spawn had not yet had a fight after being out of school for six seconds and they would most likely bicker if made to walk the half block in snow pants but they might not if we made it to the car in the next ten steps, the emptiness of the street, the dryness of the asphalt and the fact that I was wearing new leather boots ALL contributed to my decision to cross the street where I did. I made this decision in a milli-second as humans can with our high functioning brains and yet I get chastised by an angry rage-fest. I don’t get it. Why does she care? Why does she think I care what she thinks?

I don’t understand how these people (and let’s be honest here, they are most of the time women) carry through life ordering the human race around and figure that’s a valiant way to pass the time? They must walk in their door at the end of the day so thrilled that they have saved the world from impending doom. Do these knowledge givers pat themselves on the back that they told a stranger that he SHOULD buy two cans of tuna because the price is three cents cheaper that way? Thank God you were there lady, what would THAT guy have done without those three cents today? The know-it-alls always have this underlying implication that you are super fucking stupid and they are just exasperated with your behavior.

The “I’ve had it with you,” tone that implies you are both their responsibility and their nemesis - of which I am neither.

I am getting to a Celiac story here. I took the Spawn to our new Science Centre -a gorgeous facility that always proves to delight kids of all ages. I found a rare and indulgently slow day to go so we ended up spending about triple the amount of hours there as usual. My kids wandered at their leisure from station to station with hoards of staff ready to teach and explore with them. It was so great I ended up texting my handsome hubby to inform him that we would be staying for dinner and not to worry when he arrived home to an empty house that I had taken the spawn and run off to Vegas. He informed me such a thing would never cross his mind but appreciated the heads up.

So the kiddies and I head into the empty cafeteria to grab them some grub. I search through the recesses of my bag to find three corn cakes and an apple. My dinner is served. BUT, the cafeteria has a chicken and rice soup on today and I think, hmmmm, I wonder and SINCE it wasn’t busy and SINCE I was starving I decided to ask about gluten free options in the cafeteria. The chef came out and although she was lovely, she didn’t know much about what was in any of the food and how it was prepared. Because she didn’t make the soup, she didn’t know what was in it and she would have to send someone all the way downstairs to look yadda yadda yadda. This was the same story with the salad dressings and everything else. While chef lady and I were discussing, a woman and her two kids wandered into the cafeteria as well. The eye rolling started immediately, soon to morph into mumbling and then the sighing and last was the huffing. I wasn’t in her way, seeing how it was a grab and go thing; she just seemed irritated with my presence.

After determining that there was bloody nothing there I could eat, I got the kids some crap and sat down to watch them eat while nibbling on some corn cakes. I pegged the woman for a “SHOULD”er and wasn’t surprised when she walked past our table on her way out to pause and snipe, “You SHOULD bring your own food if you are so picky.”

She, like others of this nature didn't have all the information but who cares right? She's busy judging the situation and finding a solution for it. A solution that involves her telling me what I SHOULD do because she CLEARLY knew everything.

I could have stood up and made a scene. I could have gone on and on about my Celiacs and how much of a burden it is sometimes. I could even have gone on the attack. I certainly have the gift of a stellar vocabulary both of the educated and sailor variety and the barrage of stinging insults and soul crushing verbal abuse I could have rained down upon her would have resonated in her mind for years to come.

 But I bit my tongue, because my children were there, because it had been a nice day and I didn’t want THIS to be what they remembered, because to be honest, I didn’t give a shit what this woman thought of me, because I’m not her, and I’m not a SHOULD -ER and I have learned that how you live your life is up to you. For those reasons, I smiled and ignored her. She stalked away completely thrilled with herself which I guess is the good thing. I can only assume that SHOULD-ers don’t have anything else in their lives to make them happy, so let them have their moment in the sun, then smile at your own blessings and ignore them.


Avoid those that try to tell you how you “SHOULD” be. You will never be good enough for them so don’t even try.


PS There are usually plenty of gluten free options available for tourist type cafeterias be sure to call first if you can. I have contacted the Science Centre and hopefully some good stuff gets on their shelves soon.

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Like taking Candy from a Woody

Halloween is NOT my favourite holiday. Please don't hate me and egg my house. Even when I was a kid, I wasn't a fan of the costume. I remember stomping around the house rolling my eyes as my siblings suggested costume after costume. If there wasn't a pillow case of chocolate at the end of the road, I wouldn't have bothered at all. Now as a grown up, I do enjoy dressing the spawn up.

I like finding the 'just right' thing to make their costumes extra special. although, I may have passed on my lackadaisical attitude to my kids. When my son was 3 he refused to wear a costume. When we gave option after option of dress up ideas he would respond with, "Ethan will be Ethan on Halloween like every other day." Trev and I had to shrug and agree that this was true.

 In the end though, he agreed to dress up as Woody but (like me) it was only to get the candy. Still at every house, when the neighbour would say 'Oh look! It's Woody!' he would take off the cowboy hat and exclaim, 'No, it's me Ethan.'

The boy would play our game, but on his own terms.

Now, they both love dressing up and I make all the magic happen. I am even making little glutened cookies for them to bring to school that look like witches. I love Halloween for the kids, but there is something extra creepy about seeing grownups wandering around dressed as Tinkerbell or a dog.

Again though, there is a sack of candy at the end of this road and I don't even have to ask for it. Like all parents, I will shuffle through my spawns' pillow cases looking for razor blades and heroin needles. Instead though, I shall steal as much as possible from them as I can. I consider their candy donations to me payment for services rendered for a great Halloween.That's the way I roll.

Just because we have Celiacs doesn't mean that we can't steal as much candy as we want.

CLICK HERE to see a list of Gluten Free Candy!

Happy Halloween, now, go steal your kids hard earned booty to teach them you are bigger, stronger and have more money.

Thursday 18 October 2012

Stay Calm and Fart On

I know that you might not want to talk about this but the time has come in our relationship that we have to start to cover something important. The compelling, hard hitting issues need to be dealt with.

We have to talk about gas. Not Oil and Gas, not the Keystone Pipeline…nope farting.

Someone has to be the hero here. And that guy is gonna be me.

Why do we HAVE to talk about gas?

Why? Why? Because we all do it that’s why. Because it was one of the first things you ever did on this planet. You were caught by the doctor, took a deep breath, saw your Mom’s face and farted. And because when you where seven, you thought it was AWESOME. My philosophy is to regularly do things that you thought were awesome when you were seven.

Now, I don’t speak for all Celiacs but I have always been known as a Gassy Girl. If you know me for more than 37 seconds, I have most likely passed gas in front of you.  The Internet says that the average human farts about fourteen times a day. For me, you better double that. Whether I admit this or not has nothing to do with you. Most of the time, I don’t admit being the culprit of a stink bomb and neither do you so don’t get all righteous about it.

When I was a flight attendant, I called it “crop dusting”. I would walk from one end of the plane to the other, relieving my internal pressure the whole way, then, when I got the  front, I would turn around and watch every row look around in disgust at the poor saps behind them. It was like my own form of the wave… awesome.

I can only assume that my noisiness has to do with my Celiacs. That’s what I blame it on anyway. I used to blame it on my spawn but my husband decided to teach them to speak (which was a practice I thought was completely over rated) and now they don’t let me blame it on them. I have been standing in a store and Ethan has stopped, looked at me, taken a step away and said in a very loud voice, “don’t even THINK of blaming that  giant fart on me.” Then he starts to laugh, because farts are funny.
I can tell you that when I have been Glutened, the resulting flatulence is absolutely not fun at all. But for the rest of the time? I think it’s awesome. Seriously seriously fun times.

Case in point. We were camping with good friends of ours and I was cooking in our trailer. Our friend Scott came in to get something. He opens the fridge, stops and stares at me.
And while suppressing a gag he says,

            “You were just going to go ahead and pretend that never happened were you?” he says calmly. “No ‘excuse me’, no ‘ah gee Scott, don’t come into my trailer because it smells like shit’. Hey Laurie? That would be nice of you.”
            “I HAVE A DISEASE!” I screamed desperately, “I CAN’T HELP IT!”

 Scott began to laugh and went back out to give Trev massive amounts of pity. 

Recently, Trev and I have been doing a Cleanse. I used to think that Cleanses were for hippys and people who ate their own placenta but I have come to accept The Cleanse as a useful tool. After I get glutened, I tend to do a Cleanse, to clean the pipes so to speak. Now, I don’t do the Cleanses where you starve and drink only goat urine until you shit through the eye of a needle. Nope, not me. I do the ones that call for “cleaner eating” which is pretty much how I eat anyway so it’s just a couple more vitamins a day. No problem.

The problem is that somehow, Cleanses increase my gaseous nature and by “increase”, I mean, “I fart when I breathe”. Good fucking times. Have you seen those videos where those guys dress up like an old man and wander around Walmart with a fart machine grossing people out? Ya, that’s me, except I’m not dressed up.

The other day, Julia and I were in the toy section of Walmart when a Celiac poofty just snuck right out of my bum. It was loud. The lady beside me looked at me like I had just slaughtered a baby seal pup in her lap and stormed away shaking her head. Julia and I however, thought this was deeply entertaining and started laughing really hard, which made me fart more which made Julia laugh more and so on and so on until we just sat down in the middle of the aisle beside the Barbies until we could control ourselves and my sphincter. 

This is how I teach my daughter to act in public.

To her future husband, I say a hearty, ‘You are Welcome’.
There seems to be nothing that I can do about my Celiac gas. So I guess I am stuck with it. If you are a friend of mine, you are stuck with it too. Just try to stay up wind.

PS Gas-X is Gluten Free for those of you who don’t think this post was in any way enjoyable.

Thursday 4 October 2012

No Snobs Need Apply

I hate snobs. I genuinely do. And, looking back over my life, this has been a consistent theme throughout. I really never liked that Leanne girl in grade two who had her nails professionally done every week and got to keep them long. She would look at our overly trimmed fingers and roll her eyes and asked if we were poor. The other girls followed her around like a row of ducks - I instantly hated her guts. I never liked the guy at a party who sat and talked about how rich/important/well connected his father was. Other people would sit rapt with fascination, me? I go get me another drink because this guy is wearing on my patience. I equally cannot stand wine snobs. People who refuse to drink wine from a certain country or region or will refuse to drink anything that isn’t over a certain price point. Have you ever heard someone say something as asinine as ‘I don’t drink Australian wine.’ What the fuck is wrong with you? Do you know how big Australia is? Do you know how much wine it produces each year? Don’t leave your house if the world irritates your wine senses enough for you to be a douche to everyone you encounter.

I am sitting here and wondering what the difference is between a person who likes nice things and a snob. Because really, we all have indulgent things that we enjoy. Is everyone who owns an expensive handbag a snob? I don't think so. Is it the AMOUNT spent on a item or service that bumps it from a treat to a bragging right? I don’t think so.

I think that, like most things in life, snobs are created through INTENTION. We all have items or things that we splurge on, treat ourselves and our families. It’s about your intention behind it that determines if you are a snob or not. A snob goes places, buys things or attends events with the intention of impressing others. This is why snobs make a POINT to tell everyone they encounter about how exclusive their tastes are – because they are DESPERATE for people to pay attention to them.  You all know someone like this, don’t you? Maybe more than one person? You should probably limit your interaction with them because people like that can be bad for the soul. I feel bad for must be exhausting to be that focused on how you are perceived.

And let’s not throw stones shall we? Have we not all been a snob about one thing or another? I certainly, have and it’s something I am trying to evolve about myself.  A lesson recently has been learnt. I USED to be a snob about Chili’s.
And don’t lie, you are too.

I can’t even remember the last time that I was at Chili’s. It appears as though neither of my children have ever been there so I am thinking it has been more than 8 years! I specifically remember people asking, ‘what about Chili’s?’ for dinner and I responded with, ‘I don’t eat there’ (please add in a shitty tone here too because that is how I said it). I admit it…go ahead and judge me….I deserve it. Since my Celiac diagnosis, Chili’s hasn’t even entered my mind. Where our family has been evolving into cleaner, organic and healthier gluten free foods,  I never even considered Chili’s as an option.

Last week, my friend Megan and I had to do some shopping and she suggested Chili’s for lunch. Instead of shooting it down, I called and talked to the manager who assured me that they had an extensive gluten free menu and were well trained in Gluten Free Awareness. So I dropped all my snobbishness and I can’t even tell you how happy I am that I did. We enjoyed lunch that day so much that I took the spawn there last night.

The servers were attentive and we had great service, both times. The moment I said I had Celiacs, there was the perfect reaction – a lean in, pen poised, head cocked and ready to listen. Last night, our server Alex even went back and talked to the chef to make sure all ingredients were Gluten Free. The corn tortillas are organic which I loved. Our food came out fast, fresh, and hot. The kids loved their meals and wolfed everything down. *as a side note I had not fed the kids in hours so they were super-duper hungry but they still would not have eaten it if it was gross. I like to starve the kids a bit, lets them know who’s boss. That was a joke…simmer down* They didn't charge me any extra for my GF food either. Which, if you read this blog, is a BIG deal for me. And if you don't read this blog religiously, you really's marvellous.

I have to say that I was wrong about Chili’s. The GF menu is pretty great and the service is awesome and the food was wicked good. We will certainly be back and I recommend you drop some of your snobbish thoughts and go too.

Really, drop ALL snobbishness. Stop worrying about how you look. If you are particularly fond of a certain product or restaurant, wicked, enjoy it but don't be a snob about it. 
Stop caring what others think of you, trust me, you will be much happier for it.



Monday 24 September 2012


All right all you Calgary Celiac's listen up.

It is very rare that we get to feel all special and fancy and exclusive at a restaurant. In general, we tend to feel like a general pain in the ass and an annoyance to the public. This may have something to do with the fact that I AM a general pain in the ass all the time but lets not split hairs shall we?

There is a very exciting event coming up and you all have to go. The Ochre Grill has paired up with the Gluten Free Advisors and they are putting on a Gluten Free Dinner. It sounds totally wonderful and you all have to go...becuase I said so. You are not going to regret it. I LOVE the Ochre Grill and you are going to love it too.

To get tickets, contact Karen, the Gluten Free Advisor   

DO IT....don't  wait....don't pass go.....don't collect two hundred dollars



Sunday 16 September 2012

Turns out I'm a writer...huh

This post isn't about Celiacs per se...well, not really at all.

It's (shocker) about me.

Turns out I'm a writer, and not a shitty one. Yowza right? You would be amazed.

I wrote my first story at 8 years old. It was about a little boy who had an imaginary friend that took him swimming in a river of grape soda. It was stellar.But my teacher, Mrs. Tarseea didn't think it was that great. I think she said something like, "It doesn't make much sense, where would you find a river of grape soda." and I responded with "In my head." like duh. She was a crappy teacher and didn't like me very much.

Over time I kept writing because I would get these crazy ideas in my head. Basically, I came to the understanding that my brain doesn't really act the same way everyone elses does. My imagination is CONSTANTLY working, CONSTANTLY thinking CONSTANTLY coming up with stranger and stranger ideas. People always ask, "when do you find time to write" and I respond with, "I am always writing in my head". I am always thinking about different stories, ideas and characters.

I can be sitting on the bus and think, "what if, a cow got on this bus and decided to drive it? What would THAT guy do, the one in the suit? What about the lady in the flowered dress eating a bag of cheetos, what is SHE going to do about the cow driving the bus? Where would the cow take them? And why?"

This is LITERALLY a thought that I have physically had among hundreds of thousands of others.

 I remember one particular story that I wrote in high school - I don't remember what it was about but I recall that it was a good one. My English Teacher Mrs. Graham gave me an A on the story and made a point to pull me aside after class and made a point of saying, "Please know Laurie, that you are an excellent writer." I will never forget that. I don't even know if she remembers the exchange or if she remembers me even. It reminds me though, that a moment of kindness, and a compliment can stay with another human being forever. Alternatively, a cruel word has the same staying power, should you let it.

A while ago, I got a story stuck in my head that simply would not leave. I have always enjoyed writing. The time has always flown by when I was working. But when I started writing this novel, it became clear to me that this was more than just a hobby, this was more than just something a stay at home mom could do to pass nap time away. It was (is) obsessive. I would sit down to write after the kids went to bed and it felt like moments later when Trev would drag me to bed at 1 AM. Writing appears to be what my soul wanted to do.

Before I knew it, FEATHER was done and I started sending it off in the remote chance that someone would want to publish it. Lo and behold, along came Ring of Fire Publishing who seemed to think that FEATHER was as good as I thought it was. No one is more thrilled and surprised than I am. So on September 21 I will officially become a published author and the giddiness does not wish to go away.

In the middle of all this, I started this blog so I get to write my own voice as loony as that voice certainly is. I hope you enjoy the blog as much as I enjoy writing it. I will keep it up on the one condition that you buy my book. Not really, I'm going to keep posting here for as long as you want to read it. It would be great if you DID buy my book though. I would love you forever!

So remember SEPTEMBER 21 on Amazon. FEATHER by LAURIE LYONS. If you want to hear more about FEATHER, check out the webpage.

 PS No one in the book has Celiacs but you can pretend if you want to.

Friday 24 August 2012

Leave your Lederhosen at home

I heard about 1600 World Bier Haus from some friends of mine that work there and it was 7pm on Wednesday when Shelby and I sauntered our butts through the door. I don't know what I was expecting, well, ya I did. I expected a great deal of dark wood, I expected lots of those strange yellow molted windows that look like my grandmothers juice glasses in 1982. I expected lederhosen - a lot of it. Little green outfits with flowered appliques, tall socks and little black shoes. I expected deep solid wood carvings, spun in ornate patterns that look like a bird from the right and a vagina from the left. You know the ones I mean...don't even PRETEND that you don't know what I am talking about.

 Frankly, I expected 1600 World Bier Haus to look like the inside of a cuckoo clock.

How WRONG I was. Which doesn't happen often...really.

1600 World Bier Haus is bright and clean and shiny without being pretentious. It manages to feel like your neighbourhood pub and a high end cocktail lounge at the same time. Which is tricky, so they did well. We were greeted by a lovely hostess who had a booth ready for us. We had two servers welcome us within a few moments. They seemed to be completely on the ball as far as Celiac's go. I did quiz them a little bit on the preparation of the GF food. They were unsure about a few details but rapidly offered to check with the kitchen. I like that. I can smell a bullshitter a mile away, being an excellent bullshitter myself. It is always best to tell the truth, even if the truth doesn't sound fancy. Having a server say, "I'm not 100% sure but I know someone who is..." is a welcome thing to hear.

I ordered two things, because , that's the way I roll. I got the mussels and the three cheese flat bread. Both were AWESOME! Like, really really good. Fresh and hot and tasty. The ONLY problem with the food is that my gluten free meal was run by a server, and not MY server. It is ALWAYS good policy to have a manager or the server who took the order run the Celiac food themselves. The girl who dropped off my flat bread smiled and placed it in front of me. Only by me prompting, did she assure me that it was Gluten Free... NOT the warm comfy feeling that I was hoping for. A different server ran my mussels and didn't mention that they were gluten free. Now, granted, the mussels are NATURALLY gluten free but that extra bump of assurance of having a manager run both my plates with confidence makes a big difference. Peace of mind is priceless.

We had a great time. Part of it was the company. Shelby and I aren't the most,
... shall we say focused?.... individuals on the face of the planet. We were deep in conversation, something about....ah shit... I don't even know when this lady walks in with a hair-do that can not be beat. We then got into a deep, long, painful conversation about HOW this lady gets her hair that big. It was in a pony tail but the puffiness around the ponytail was such that implied other forces were at work. Shelby insisted that it was a "bump it" - one of those on-line do-hickeys that poof up your hair. I think it was just masterful teasing. We then get to talking about physics and hair and then conditioners and then something about Paris maybe? This topic then consumed us until something shiny went past.

Anyway...back to the blog...see what just happened there? Under "CHAOS" in the dictionary, is a picture Shelby and I... shopping for shoes....or flying on an's really all the same to us.

The food was delicious. Shelby had a burger and loved it. Two managers and our server checked on us throughout the meal. I was sad to not see a GF dessert but the bill came promptly and with a smile.
1600 World Bier Haus was a great breath of fresh air. Usually in suburbia, our pubs are dark and a little creepy with pictures of Don Cherry plastering the walls. 1600 World Bier Haus is bright and fresh with a modern interior and a menu with lots of GF options.

Go to 1600 World Bier Haus, leave your lederhosen at home because you would look super stupid, just like wearing a bump-it would. I would suggest making a reservation. The place was lined up while we were there.

We are going to check out 1410 Bier Haus on 17th Avenue next...that is, if we don't see a squirrel first and get distracted.

Saturday 18 August 2012

Is That A Goat in A Bathing Suit?

I could have died today. It totally could have happened, could have DIED. I know I tend to lean on the side of the dramatic but I need to be clear, I totally could have died.

I got stung by a wasp.

I don’t think it was a regular wasp, I think it was some kind of mutant science experiment gone wild.

Trevor says I am being ridiculous, I say he is grossly underestimating how much this hurts. I think that stinger thing is still in there or whatever because it is like 6 hours after “the death incident” as it shall be known and it STILL FUCKING HURTS – A LOT!

Let me tell you the tale of when I almost died today.

We went to the Millarville Fair. It’s a small town southwest of Calgary and each year they put on hands down the BEST fair I have ever seen. First off, it is creepy good organised (did you see my English Degree leaking into that previous sentence?) – from paying from your car to the tonnes and tonnes of parking attendants to the cute farm kids walking around carrying “ASK ME” signs. Of course, I have to wonder, can I ask ANYTHING? Like “what is the meaning of life?” “have your parents ever traumatised you by making you kill a chicken by whipping it around like in that fucked up you tube video” OR  “how do you kill a chicken?” But I didn’t – because I’m not an asshole yo.

They have vendor after vendor from the hudderite colonies and the honey farms to the organic meats and flowers. You also have rows and rows of entries from kids and adults alike. There are Lego creations, cakes, paintings and home made dolls and stunning quilts. It’s really pretty cool. I can’t even make fun of it because my kids are totally going to do it next year.

The fair also has the end all be all in fair entertainment, there is a Rooster Crowing Contest. That’s right. They have about eight roosters in cages and the roosters get a coin every time they crow.  It’s totally awesome and my kids cheer and laugh and love every second of it. I think they might be amazed that for once I didn’t lie to them and a rooster actually crows. They haven't quite let go of the “cows can’t actually fly over moons” debacle of 2009.
The Rooster Crowing Contest

Don’t worry – I am getting to the part where I almost died. AND about the Celiac thing too…

Wait, the rooster crowing isn't the best – the competition where kids and their animals dress up is the best. I'm again, not mocking this at all because if I wasn’t allergic to everything on the face of the planet, I would totally DO this. Kids pick a theme and then they and their animal put on costumes and compete for prizes. There are princesses on horses with unicorn horns, Cleopatra on donkeys dressed as camels and my personal favourite. A kid in a life jacket with a GOAT IN A BATHING SUIT!!! It was a FULL bathing suit and little goggles on the goats head. Beyond fantastically awesome. I might just go out and buy a goat to make it a bathing suit. I am trying to convince Trev to buy me a pot bellied pig because I really don’t think I would be allergic to Petunia (I have named my fictitious pig) but he refuses. I could dress up Petunia to look like an ACTUAL flower and then all I have to do is put gardening gloves and a hat on one of the spawn and I AM A SHOE IN TO WIN. But Trev says no…..

You know what else the Millarville fair has? GLUTEN FREE FOOD ! A LOT of it. I love it so much. Where the stampede has thousands of vendors selling garbage by the foot, this small town “gets it”. Each vendor promises organic, locally grown and gluten free options. It is so great to go to a fair and not fill my spawn with crap.

I choose the Primal Grounds Tent and man, did I ever pick well.

This all happened before I almost died by the way.

So I show up there and meet Margaret. She is the most gorgeous, delightful, wonderful human being I have ever met (she told me to write that but it’s kind of true so it gets to stay). Primal grounds has ALWAYS been gluten free and now has branched in to the primal soup company. She made me this turkey, herb smokie on a herbed gluten free bun with maple syrup, cheese and BRACE YOURSELF hickory sticks. I didn’t know we could HAVE hickory sticks but Margaret says we can and that makes it FACT bitches.

That is Margaret making my lunch with gluten free love.

It was one of the best meals I have ever eaten standing up looking at a goat in a bathing suit. It tasted fresh and juicy and full of wonderful things and it was made with a lot of love.  The kids had the chicken smokies and they were awesome too. You can visit the wonderful Margaret at The Kingsland Farmers Market. I know I will.
So I am just finishing up my delicious smokie and watching the spawn jump in some sort of inflatable box that always resembles a giant womb to me (once they get all the kids in there, I always get a flash image of octomom in my head) and I felt something on my neck. So I innocently, gracefully (because I am above all things a graceful woman) brush this creature of God away.




So I of course start screaming that there is CLEARLY a cougar on the loose so hide the goat in the bathing suit and the babies but I was quickly informed by a moderately snarky hudderite that I have been stung by a wasp. Now, I have no idea if I am allergic to wasps and because I am allergic to horses, I can only assume that they are of the same genus or family or order or something because zebras have stripes. (See how my brain works? It’s no picnic in here people)
I come to the ultimate conclusion that  am going to die….right now. I could almost FEEL my throat closing up and the venom coursing through my system.

 But my friend Letishia looked at my neck and informed me that I was indeed not going to die and I would be fine. I don’t think she took it as seriously as she should have because no one was making a move to call 911 to get me airlifted out of there. She just looked at me like I was fine. She added that I wasn't bleeding becuase this is how well she knows me, she KNEW my next question was if I was bleeding or not.
Later, I was speaking to a friend of mine who is a nurse, I tried to inform her of my near death experience and she simply glanced at my neck and shrugged and said that it might hurt but I should be fine. She didn't pull out a medical kit or a microscope or ANYTHING. I told her I will be writing a letter to the Alberta Health Services in complaint at her bedside manner BECAUSE I COULD HAVE DIED. She laughed in my face. Literally. Nurse Rachett.

So the MORAL of the story is….go to Primal Grounds and the Primal Soup Company and get your Gluten Free Goodness on. You will not regret it. Next year, go to the The Millarville Fair and love every minute of this fantastic event.

I hopefully will be fully recovered by then, I might still be in therapy. I can feel my neck swelling again so I am going to go lie down and drink a bottle of wine.

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Dammit....We Should Have Gone East

Last night was another meeting of my delightful book club Libations and Literature. We usually meet at someones house but decided this time to meet at WEST, a restaurant in downtown Calgary.  I have heard good things about WEST – I am starting to assume that those people have the standards of blind, deaf, circus folk.

We made a reservation for 7pm and at 7 we stood at the door. Now, there was some crazy weather going on in Calgary last night - some rain and hail etc. We were clearly not going to sit on the patio. The hostess acknowledged our presence and said a table would be “put together for us”. We then stood for 25 minutes staring at an EMPTY restaurant while said hostess wandered aimlessly from the back to the front over and over again. I am sure this girl is good at many things, like water polo or knitting, I don’t know but ‘looking busy’ or "looking happy to help" are not her talents.

There was some sort of problem with the rain and moving things or people or furniture or sections or something that she kept mumbling about every time we asked her. It was terribly odd. When a different hostess arrived, she amazingly, by some feat of sheer genius, found us a table in the empty restaurant. Brilliance….it happens when you least expect it.

The service was slow and expensive. The server training must make it clear that pants are always optional. At McDonalds, smiles are free, at WEST, a different kind of cheek is handed out willingly. Who doesn’t want a side of ass cheek for dinner?  If she was fun and bubbly and showed me her ass, that would be fine but she was slow and bored so the ass really wasn’t worth its weight in smiles.

 Slow means that she took our dinner orders before our drinks arrived. Slow means that our reservation was for seven and it was eight when we first clinked our glasses together. Slow also means that she wasn’t very smart.  Her attitude was as lackluster as the transparency of her “dress”. We got the distinct feeling that she didn’t want to be there and therefore we didn’t want her there either.

As far as the Gluten aspect goes, they charge extra for everything Gluten Free which irritates me. *Please see previous post. I feel this is the same as putting a toll booth on a wheel chair ramp.* At the end of the day, I believe I paid twelve extra dollars in upcharges. It makes my skin crawl. I would know the exact amount but despite requesting a copy of the bill three times. I never did get it.

The corn pasta was ok, a little over cooked but that can happen with corn pasta if you aren’t used to cooking it - which the chefs should be. The chocolate fondue was ok too but we were charged the GF upcharge because I couldn’t have the pound cake and I asked for more berries to be added but they just added more grapes – I guess those are expensive somewhere right now. Of course, I tip extra for the fact that no one poisoned me so it was a costly meal for me. I am of course hoping that the server takes the tip to purchase herself a bra. Wishful thinking.

The only bright side of the night was that I got to spend it with my dear friends. Books are vaguely discussed with a good dose of laughter and problem solving as it is with good friends. I just wish I could add a wonderful restaurant experience on top of it all. It was really one of the blandest meals out that I have had in recent memory, served by bland people and charged extra for it all.

I wouldn’t recommend WEST for Celiacs or circus folk or even people not wearing pants.

Monday 23 July 2012

Me and my Chicken Cutlets....

Did you know that there is a dark seedy, underbelly of gluten free eating? No?  You didn’t know that there is a back alley to the gluten industry? It’s the creepy shadowy mark that seeps into the eating out experiences of all Celiacs. It may not sound like a big deal to all of you but it literally, infuriates me. Literally. I lose my shit every time this happens.

Celiacs get charged extra fees for eating out ALL THE TIME.

 Some restaurants don’t tell you about it. They especially don’t mention it to the Celiac when that Celiac orders Gluten Free food. The restaurant just adds it to the bill when the Celiac is, gee, I don’t know, with a group of people she doesn’t know that well. When this extra charge is openly questioned on the group bill by the bossy 'I will calculate what we all owe becuase I have a calculator in my ass' person at the table, the server comes over and explains in the most condescending, charitable voice possible that the charge is for the Celiac meal and the entire table looks at you and you start to sweat because something that you didn’t want to be a big deal is now a BIG deal and by sweating you realize that you forgot to put in your chicken cutlets so now you have inconvenienced everybody and you don’t even have plastic boobs to make it better.

 (PS Trev says that not everyone knows what chicken cutlets are – they are small soft triangular shaped gel filled bags that those of us who are boobie challenged can slip into our bra’s to fake everyone out - they make me feel like David Copperfield and Dolly Parton at the same time)

 (PPS I have had a totally hilarious moment with my chicken cutlets that was witnessed by my friend Leisa. She has been sworn to secrecy. I will only tell you that chicken cutlets are as dangerous as they are enchanted – use with caution)

Back to the blog:

 Let me clarify for those of you who may NOT have to pay extra money for having an Autoimmune  Disease. The people WITH the autoimmune disease are yelling "GO BITCH GO!" and jumping up and down with giant foam hands and shit like that.

When I go to some restaurants that advertise having Gluten Free options, they charge me extra money. Usually, it’s about three dollars per item but I have been charged five dollars per item.

  As a side note, someone told me conversationally, that a blow job in a foreign country is cheaper than a gluten free upcharge here – I promptly defriended him from facebook and took a shower.

 Sometimes, restaurants just charge me once but sometimes I get charged for every item I eat. As if ensuring my coffee is gluten free has a fee. “Lady, I avoided our flour waterfall in the back for you, that’s WORTH something.”

 So let me break it down for you:

 Caesar salad (no croutons) to start $9.00
I am charged $3.00 for GF Upcharge
Gluten Free Pasta (brown rice – retails for 3.49 a pack )
I am told that the sauce is naturally gluten free $16.00
I am charged $3.00 for GF upcharge 
The (ALREADY) flourless cake for dessert $ 9.00
I am charged $3.00 for GF upcharge

So my dinner comes to $34.00 (not including a glass of wine)

 My upcharges come to $9.00 FOR HAVING A DISEASE

 That is a 26% upcharge.

 Then I have to tip.



 It says, you are welcome here, we accommodate your kind…but it will cost you - almost double.

 I know that Gluten Free foods (namely breads) are more expensive than normal bread. I know this because I buy it too. I have a whole fucking freezer full. I do know that Gluten Free pasta (either brown rice or corn pasta) is NOT any more expensive than a high end quality pasta. SO YOU AREN'T FOOLING ANYONE ASSHOLES! My business (and most likely my repeat business because I do not have many options for eating out) is payment for the extra five dollars you spend on a loaf of bread that you have to keep in the freezer for a year. Don’t tell me what your food cost is – you should see mine jackass.

I also know that it costs extra money in labor costs for a restaurant to prepare my gluten free food. I know that it costs the server time which is time that they aren’t spending at any other tables, I know that a cook in the back (most likely the sous chef) takes time to just prepare my meal, I know that there are discussions about my meal between managers and servers and chefs. I KNOW all that – and believe me I am GRATEFUL that the time was taken.

This is, however, the SAME amount of time used to prepare a meal for someone with a severe peanut or seafood allergy or even someone who is a pain in the ass and wants something not offered on the menu. Neither of which you upcharge for. Do you have any idea how much time your fucking hot water with honey and lemons take? If a server ever committed suicide at work, it would be the hot water/lemon/honey lady that pushed them over the fucking edge.

Don’t charge Celiac’s for services you provide for others for free.

Don’t and I really mean don’t, advertise that you WANT Celiacs to come to your restaurant and then make it very clear that we aren’t welcome.  Let me remind you that I don’t always have the choice of where I eat. I DO have friends (I know, shocking right? I question their judgment all the time) that want to eat where they want to eat and when I have to pay more money than they do, it’s offensive.

I don’t have a choice in the matter. Gluten Free is what I have to eat…no options.

Celiacs are VERY loyal customers. If we are treated well, and get DON’T get poisoned somewhere, we will EAT THERE FOREVER. Now, I can’t promise that all Celiacs are good tippers. They should be. I am a very good tipper because I believe in Karma but I also believe in unicorns and mermaids so I can’t guarantee that everyone is as wonderful as I am.  

Here’s the rule folks:


There are some places that REFUSE to charge for GF options. The Ochre Grill in SW Calgary is one of them and their menu is like 85% gluten free. They carry breads from The Care Bakery and have never charged me an extra penny. This is why we eat there at least once a week.

But a lot of other places do charge for GF food; from the Redwater to Toscana Grill and Chiantis plus many others charge extra for GF options. This has become common practice and it pisses me off.

So knock it off or I am going to start ordering hot water’s with honey and lemon by the bucketful.

Don’t tempt me.

You think my Celiac’s annoys you?

Bitches you have NO idea what me and my chicken cutlets are capable of….

Monday 16 July 2012

It's all about the legs.

Today is a special day in Calgary. It's hangover day. Today is the day AFTER the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth and the entire city curls up in a ball and watches reruns of Full House on their couch. Today is a day of recovery. The carnies are putting the rides back on a truck, the cowboys are loading up the cattle and the steers, that guy in the horrible jacket is packing up the superdogs, rock stars are loading their trailers and the food trucks are heading down Macleod Trail.

Our entire city needs a Gatorade, a poop and a nice long nap.

This year more than others because the Stampede was OFF THE CHAIN for 2012. With record temperatures combined with record attendance, amazing shows and bigger and better rides The Calgary Stampede brought in their 100 Year Birthday with a bang.

As promised, I searched out all the GF food on the grounds which there was more than in previous years BUT with the amount of food availiable, it still seemed kinda lame. It was like being granted one wish from a Genie only to see that everyone else in the world got fifty wishes. I'm not kidding here people. To give you an idea, I took some pictures of all the places I COULD NOT eat at. To be honest, I am not all that upset about some of them.
There was no one advertising "Stale and Cold Cinnamon Buns" so I'm not sure...
My FAVORITE!!! PUB GRUB! On the Menu was "Battered Mushrooms" I, of course wonder if the Mushrooms just didn't have enough self esteem to get out of the relationship

I don't think I can eat anything called Fried Dough - Either Elephant or Funnel Shaped
This place was a little exessive - Pizza - Burgers - Churros - Nachos Yadda Yadda

Deep Frid Pop Tarts - Is that Shit even LEGAL????

This sign I looked at with DEEP LONGING! I MISS Those Little Donuts.
But WAIT! Who do I see there purchasing two bags of donuts? WHY IT'S MY HUSBAND!
There is a knife in my back bitches and it's name is gluten.

The father of my children.
He even BRAGGED that it was the first time ever that he didn't have to share the Donuts.
 Mother Fucker.
Now – I did go and visit the GF places on the grounds. I went to the Mexican place that promised Gluten free food. The lady who was serving me didn’t know what I was talking about. How do I know this? She looked at me and said, “I don’t know what you are talking about.” So I didn’t eat there.
The Turkey Leg (side note - what in God's name is that bitch in the picture WEARING? Is that a bathing suit or a bra or just some string licorice? Bleh)

I did however have a turkey leg from this place. I asked about Gluten Free food and the lady was MORE than accommodating. She promised that the legs WERE GF and even pulled out the BBQ Sauce so I could read the label. This is a picture of me eating the SMALL Turkey leg. No shit. The extra large one looked like a fucking ostrich limb. It was delicious.
This is my favorite picture of myself EVER - Seriously, put this shit on my tombstone.

I also saw THIS delightful sign and ordered the meal immediately. It was AWESOME! The steak was tender and flavorful and it was MORE than enough food. That was great too. I also had a corn on the cob that was super yummy

The best meal on the grounds and all Gluten Free!
 Now the Stampede is known for it’s beer, lots and lots of beer flows over the ten days. I however discovered this fine gem which is responsible for hours of happiness on my part.

Once again, the Stampede puts on a hell of a party and I loved every second of it. I am going to go nurse my hangover now and dream of all the great GF things I will eat next year! Maybe the pain of  what I now call "DonutGate" will fade by then....