Monday 15 December 2014

Christmas Post 2014

Ahhhh Christmas, it cometh. Like a raging fire or a swarm of locust, the magic of Christmas can not be stopped.

If you have been reading this blog for more than a year, you will know that I have issues with Christmas. Well, I don't have issues with the obese, fur clad man breaking into my home to give the spawn flashy, mind numbing gifts. I certainly don't have issues with a beautiful baby being born under a bright star to an unmarried lady. I think all of that is magical. I even get teary eyed at the Nativity Play and Christmas movies (except Christmas with the Kranks, that movie is shit).

I love Christmas.

I just hate the way we handle Christmas.

I hate the exhaustion in a Mother's eyes when she is standing weary-eyed at the Walmart checkout line because she knows that she has fifteen more stops to make. She also just realized that this Walmart doesn't have the one gift that she needed and that means she has to make a trip to Toys R Us today and she really, really didn't want to go to Toys R Us today because she is so tired she could
literally fall asleep against the gossip magazines right here in the Walmart line and risk having a Real Housewife face imprinted on her cheek.

I hate that she is also dreading the bills that will show up in January and how she's going to stretch the grocery budget next month because hockey money is due and God knows that will be a mortgage payment. I hate the weary facebook posts about baking until 3 in the morning and the writer wearing this foolishness like a badge of honor. I hate the bitching and moaning about who is coming to basically live with you for six weeks over the holidays.

My problem with Christmas is that too many moms do parts of it because they feel like they should do it.

And I hate the word 'should'. Don't 'should' all over yourself. Don't 'should' all over anyone else.

Don't 'should' all over your Christmas.

Here's a crazy thought.....

What if, what if, you didn't do something for Christmas unless you wanted to? What if, you made enjoying Christmas a priority? Think about it. Put down the elf on the shelf and the piping bag and think really hard about that.What don't you enjoy during Christmas? Then, then, after you decide what you don't enjoy, then decide not to do that this year.

Hate making a turkey? Fine, make a ham, buy a cooked turkey, ask your aunt or cousin or mailman to bring a turkey. Instead of being up unitl 3am making Santa themed cake pops from a pintrest recipe, stop at the grocery store and buy them. Hate wrapping the teachers gifts? Have children? Done. Dreading the family Christmas picture? Then don't do it! Or have a friend come to your house and take pictures of you and your family jumping on the trampoline or walking the dog.

Hate all the shopping? Do you have a spouse? Have you asked him to help? Let me clarify this one, I'm saying for you to be vulnerable and turn to him with sincerity in your eyes and say, 'I have too much on my plate and I need your help." This is NOT, "OMG YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW HARD BEING A MOM DURING THE HOLIDAYS IS! WHAT THE FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO GET YOUR BOSS HEY? WHAT? FORGET IT! I WILL JUST DO IT, AND EVERYTHING ELSE BECAUSE I GUESS BEING THE DEFAULT PARENT MEANS THAT I'M IN CHARGE OF EVERYTHING!" Stop doing that to your partner in crime. Stop making him suffer for your shitty to do list decisions. He's not going to read your mind and offer to mail the cards. He can't read your mind and let's be honest, you don't want him to. If you ask for help. He will help. It is that simple. Get off your martyr cross, save that for Easter.

I know, I know it's hard to let go of the control of Christmas. We want things done our way. Christmas has become a presentation of status, social standing, wealth and mothering skills and that's bullshit.

Your worth as a mother and a wife is not decided on one day. Your value is not in the sugar cookies or the ipad under the tree or the matching napkin rings made by hand. You are more than your Christmas and if you have people in your life who judge you by your wrapping or turkey basting skills, get them the fuck out of your life. That includes that little voice that sits in your medulla oblongata that whispers evil things to you. The voice that tells you the turkey is dry or the gravy is cold or uncle john didn't really like his gift and the people down the street had better lights. Shut that little voice down.

I say this every year, it's a new tradition. Mary gave birth in a fucking barn. Think about that. Think about your birthing experience with the medical equipment and the staff and the operating theatre five feet away. Think about that and then think about giving birth to a baby who, even atheists will agree, is one of the most influential humans in the history of mankind, and you give birth to that child three feet from a pile of cow poo. After Mary did that, she wrapped that newborn in some spare cloth she found lying around and was still, literally, the happiest woman that has ever had a baby of all time.

There isn't a clearer message about the simplicity of Christmas. It's not where you are, what you are wearing or what you have bought. It's about who is in the room and how much you love them.

The measure of a mother is not in a perfectly set table or a homemade bow. You need to know that. Because everyone else around you already knows that. Your spouse would rather be sitting in a bare house with a picture of a tree taped to the wall than have you break down in tears while putting lights on a blue spruce. Ask him, go on, ask. I dare you.

Your children may say that they can't live without the newest toy. But they are lying, the can live without the toy. They don't want the toy though if it means that Mommy is in hysterics on Christmas morning because the wrapping is making a mess.  They don't want it if you don't want to have brunch for fifty people twenty minutes after they get it. It's true. Don't ask them though because children are inherently selfish and will lie to you in the hopes of getting the present. Adorable little assholes.

You have to decide if you are worth it. And let me whisper something new in your ear, you are. You are worth letting some things go for your own sanity. Do the things that give you joy, that you look forward to each year. If that's making homemade cards, and you have time, do that. Enjoy it. But don't stay up frantic until four am because everyone expects a homemade card from you. Don't do it because you feel you should because that was never the intention of Christmas.

Pick one thing this year that you don't want to do and then just don't do it. The world will not end. Jesus was still born, the fat man will come and you, you, the maker of the magic, the owner of the secrets and the joy and the sweet sweet love from your children and partner, you, will actually enjoy Christmas. You will enjoy the time because you deserve to.

Merry Christmas to All

Thursday 20 November 2014

Date Night at the Feast

Let's talk about date night. Date night for those of you who are unmarried folk is a rare and cosmic-like event that occurs once in a eon-esque age in your marriage. Particularly apres children, the likeliness of date night occurs with the frequency of a meteor shower or the sighting of a Kardashian's common sense. It's rare bitches, it won't get better, you won't have a set date once a month, it doesn't get easier.....own that.

Never more rare has a sans spawn night happened than since we have found ourselves in a new province with no friends, family or homeless people to bribe with Lysol to watch our children. The fates somehow aligned tonight for the baby daddy and I to have a night out. Now, I'm not a picky wife. I don't care if we go to a five course dinner or if we go bowling. Both sound fun to me. However, Trev's work was hosting an event at the local dinner theatre and I have to be honest, I rolled my eyes.

Dinner theatre, historically, sucks. Like suuuucks. Sucks like a bear attack when you are drenched in fish sauce. It sucks. It's awful. The acting is always trite, the plots so thin, you could bust it apart with a strong puff of disappointment and the food? Good lord, the food would make a blind, deaf imprisoned seagull turn up it's nose. I have been to some dinner theatres that make you want stab yourself in the eye. Think I'm exaggerating? Picture it, Tina Yothers, ( you might remember her as the oddly heavy, awkward useless younger sister in 'Family Ties'. She only said the quirky lines in response to MJ Fox's perfectly timed ones.) as the iconic Sandra Dee in a non-musical rendition of Grease. It was hands down, the longest, most harrowing, arduous three hours of my life. I found the 'keepsake' etched wine glasses in my Mom's apartment after she passed away. It was disturbing.

And I know my theatre, I love my theatre. I have scripts of plays in my library, I have seen some of the best musicals and independents from front row centre and I know my shit. If my husband really wanted to impress me, he would find an indie  hole in the wall theatre showing 'Death of a Salesman' or 'The Dollhouse'. However, he has basically baby trapped me and doesn't need to impress me anymore. He impresses me when he puts his underwear in the hamper.

So when he told me that we were going to a dinner theatre, I sighed. I wished we could beg off and go get drunk on Spring Garden Road so we wouldn't waste the babysitter.

I say this more rarely than date night....I was wrong.

The Feast Dinner Theatre in Halifax is a rare and wonderful gem in a spectrum of mediocre and downright horrific dinner theatres. We were greeted by our server Page Beauchamp whom we quickly discovered was one of the actors who served us in character. Actually, all the servers were the actors, which was fantastic. They stayed in character the entire time and it was hilarious. Page handled my Celiacs like a pro. She clarified what my concerns were, then darted off to the chef to check it and then darted back to tell me what I could or could not have. I decided on the bacon wrapped scallops for an appy (amazing) and the maple glazed salmon for an entree. For dessert, "Page" (whose real name was Savanna) offered me fresh sliced strawberries for dessert. The meal was good, really good actually. The salmon was a hair dry, but flavorful and tender. The mash potatoes were well seasoned and the peas, were pretty good. The strawberries were delightful and throughout it, the service and the show was beyond entertaining.

The show playing was a "Merry Maritime Christmas". I like to bitch and whine about things but I really can't find anything bad to say about this show. It was bloody entertaining. Granted, there were some maritime jokes that went over our Alberta heads, (I assume you don't want to marry people from somewhere called Meat Cove? No shit, It's called Meat Cove, What they hell happens in the preschools at a place called Meat Cove?) But they were still funny jokes. Like, laugh out load, mouth wide open, slam hand on leg, funny jokes. It was brilliantly written, like a whole series of SNL routines lined up one after the other, The characters that in any other show would be considered stereotypical, were played so well that they were heartwarming. They reminded you of your own family. You see your grandma and your aunts and your goofy cousin who never has his shirt tucked in right. It was charming and funny and delightful.

Then there is the music. Normally, these things are weakly, tone deafly, sung to a shitty track with an 80's high hat beat to them. Not so at the Halifax Feast. The actors are talented. Let me clarify that. They are SICK talented with voices that make you stop and whisper 'shut the fuck up' to the guy next to you. Any accompaniment was played by the actors themselves who rotated through the instruments, it was amazing. The song choices varied from traditional Christmas carols sung in 5 part harmony to 'Shake it off' by our server Page who nailed it while her 'grandfather' danced like a fly girl behind her. Their 'O Holy Night' had everyone sitting, silently, enraptured and teary eyed at the beauty of it.

More than once we wondered, 'why aren't these people famous'? Why aren't they on Broadway? Because they are really that good, that professional, that talented. Meanwhile, they finish belting and dancing to race to the back and appear again with aprons and trays of food all while staying in character. The effort that these people put into my date night was more than either of us has ever considered putting into it.

It was a delightful surprise and I loved every second of it. So for you Haligonians (or people from Meat Cove so you can explain that joke to me) go see the Christmas show at Halifax Feast Dinner Theatre. By the time they get a new show, I will most likely be hankering for another date night.

Meanwhile, Calgary, enjoy the prison-like buffet and Tina Yothers musical rendition of 'Waiting for Godot'.....shudder.

Friday 10 October 2014

A Worm of Cure....

Is there a cure for Celiac Disease? No. Would I like to find a cure for Celiac Disease? Yes. Have I been sitting, drunk, outside of a McDonalds at two in the morning weeping inconsolably because I could not have the Big Mac that I deeply, down to my soul desired? Did I at that point kick the garbage can with my Micheal Kors pumps, fall down and cry out desperately, "I would do anything to be cured of Celiac Disease!" Maybe....

Did I mean what I said? Would I do anything to be cured of Celiac Disease?

Like many things said outside MacDonalds at two in the morning while drunk on tequilla....I don't know if I meant it.

On the disease spectrum, Celiacs sits pretty damn low on the scale. It won't kill you, unless you eat gluten and get colon cancer and that kills you, which technically means that cancer killed you. You could eat gluten while driving a huge boat and the cramps are so bad you fall onto the wheel, jarring the boat sharply left, run into an iceberg, sink the boat, find a floating door to hang out on until help comes but then Kate Winslet shows up, takes the door and won't let you on even though there is plenty of room so you drown, so technically, drowning killed you, you poorly planned plot flaw.

I do want them (and by them I mean smart sciency types) to find a cure for Celiacs but I'm  not sure how far I would go to help them.

Case in point.....An article in Metro discussed a study done by  Paul Giacomin at James Cook University in Australia where he used hookworms on Celiacs and diminished their symptoms when eating gluten.

You read that right...hookworms. I also read the guys' name and totally thought for a second that he was that actor and I was all like 'wow, I loved you in 'Saving Mr. Banks', how did you find time to act with Emma Thompson and run a Celiac study?' but then I googled him and realized I was totally wrong.

Still, running the celiac study is impressive. Want to know why? Because it involved hookworms.

This reads like a freaky reverse hazing challenge. How baaaaad do you want to be out of our Celiac club huh? Are you willing to have hookworms in your gut?

Let's just discuss hookworms shall we? A little bio lesson for you.

These are hookworms. I tried to find something cute to say about them and yet, I can not. This is them, this is it.....yup....hookworms.
Hookworms are a parasite that stick their little mouths onto the inside of the intestine and suck your blood until you die, true story.

This is it's adorable little looks like that thing in Return of the Jedi that ate Boba Fett.
Now, I know Celiac's are bad asses, I know we are hard core, life on the edge type of people. After all, every meal out is like Russian roulette, but I feel like this is pushing it...don't you?
Let's look more into hookworms.... I will take some excerpts from Wikipedia
"Hookworm affects over half a billion people globally.[2] It is a leading cause of maternal and child morbidity in the developing countries of the tropics and subtropics."
But, hell, if you can eat spaghetti in the hospital, why not right?
Who ARE these people?
"Larval invasion of the skin might give rise to intense, local itching, usually on the foot or lower leg, which can be followed by lesions that look like insect bites, can blister ("ground itch"), and last for a week or more."
'Larval invasion' just makes you think of that weird movie where the bugs mutated into human sized creatures that attacked people in subway tunnels doesn't it? Would I like something called 'ground itch' in exchange for eating a subway sandwich? Ummmmm, let me think long and hard about that one....NO.
How did this guy find people to DO this for him? Did he have a 'Celiacs Only' Party and roofie everyone and while they were under, shoved worms up their ass?
This one, is my favorite so I saved it for last.....
"They mate inside the host (that's you), females laying up to 30,000 (that's thirty thousand) eggs per day and some 18 to 54 million eggs during their lifetime, which pass out in feces (poop). The larvae are able to penetrate the skin of the foot, and once inside the body, they migrate through the vascular system to the lungs, and from there up the trachea, and are swallowed. They then pass down the esophagus and enter the digestive system, finishing their journey in the intestine, where the larvae mature into adult worms"
I have to admit, this part has me tipping my intestinal hat to the little bastards. This is dedication to your craft right here people. Read that again, they travel UP the body to the esophagus, to then be swallowed to get into the digestive system. I sometimes won't cross the street to get a meal because I am that damn lazy, look at these little buggers! They really want your intestines....a lot.
Have we considered hookworms in the fight against ISIS?
So, in conclusion, as if I have not made my point clear. I don't want Celiacs but I don't want hookworms either. As a matter of fact, I think that we should find a way to give Celiacs to people with hookworms because everyone in their right mind would take a gluten free diet over having a swarm of wiggling, fanged worms in their intestines. Everyone. I would like to talk to any of the study participants (or survivors as I like to call them) and find out what childhood trauma made them think that hookworms in their gut was the right path on that particular day.
 So Paul Giacomn, thank you so much for your extra effort on this one, but I will not be trying you Celiac cure....ever.
PS. You were the only good thing about 'Lady in the Water'

Saturday 13 September 2014

The Hunter becomes the Hunted

I'm back to the lobster thing because I feel like we haven't beaten this to death enough. I like to really stomp on a topic until half my readers throw up their hands and slam their laptops closed in frustration. Here is the thing. I have been eating lobster since I was 8 years old, (so for about a decade) and I am really really good at it. I am an expert at picking them. How some people buy a luxury car is how I purchase lobster. I am discerning.


Because I am a carnivore. Never in my life do I feel more Charles Darwin than I do when I eat lobster. I am the fittest, and I have survived. I feel powerful and raw when I pick it out alive, get it home, cook it and eat it by literally busting into it's body with my bare hands. "But Laurie, don't you feel bad for the lobster?" whines the lady who lives in a tree and eats only bark and I laugh maniacally in her face.

"A lobster? Feelings? Thoughts? AS IF!" I proclaim as I rip through the tail meat.

I spoke too soon......

The hunter became the hunted and I have to say that it was terrifying.

We went to Fishermans Cove to wander around (super cute little town btw and not in anyway responsible for the horrors that resulted that evening) and although you can buy lobster there, plus eat it from different restaurants every three feet, a lady told us about "a guy".

That's how she described it....a guy. A guy that sells lobster out of the back of his truck. Now, in Alberta, this is a horrifically bad idea that will surely land you in the ER within the hour, but here in Halifax, seafood by the side of the road is A-Okay. So the guy sells lobster out of the back of his truck, in the parking lot of Ralph's Strip club. Someone named a strip club "Ralphs". Someone, named Peter, I assume.

With two kids in the car, Trev types 'Ralph's Strip Club' into the GPS, totally acting like he didn't know where it was or how to spell 'strip'.  It came up as 'Ralphs Place - Showbar and Grill' which I think is a name that really classes up the joint. I love the idea of a showbar, like there will be something other than naked snatch. Maybe you'll see a juggler or a magician or Bobby Flay cooking never know at something called a showbar.

So the guy is in the lot and the truck is actually a trailer full of tanks and the lobster are all alive and pissed off and my mouth starts to water. Little did I know that it was within these tanks that the lobster learned tactics for beating humans at their own game. Like in prison where an accountant walks in wearing a three piece suit but walks out with three tear tattoos and a working knowledge of how to make a molitov cocktail. It was a mini underwater terrorist cell.

We, unsuspecting, naïve humans, purchase the lobster from the very nice lobster guy, but instead of putting them in a box like at the grocery store, Ralphs Showbar Parking guy puts them in a plastic bag. One that he just ties up at the top. There are three lobsters in one plastic grocery bag so they don't all fit properly - there is a leg of one and a tail of another half sticking out of the top.

 So the moment I put the bag on the floor of the back seat of the truck (with the children), the lobsters start ACTIVELY trying to escape the bag.

I'm not kidding.

Trev and I are trying to brush over this fact with fun comments like "what should we name them?" and "do you want to let them walk around the kitchen when we get home?" but the kids aren't listening. They are staring, legs tucked under them at the consistent slick, plasticy sound of six sets of claws and eighteen legs straining to get out, and free, in my fucking truck.

I know we should get home right away but I still make Trev stop to get wine. Because Momma gots to have her wine.

When I come back to the truck, the plastic bag has moved to the other side of the back seat and my youngest is sobbing. I guess while I was in the liquor store, she asked to see the lobster, I guess the lobster wanted to see her back, this resulted in some sort of of life saving, intervention by my son which consisted of him kicking his converse violently towards the bag.

Daddy wasn't happy, the kids weren't happy, the lobster were pissed - so pissed in fact that I suspect that this is where they started to plot to kill me. I was just happy I had wine.

So we get everything home and I put a huge pot of water on to boil. I put the lobster bag on the counter. Now, this is going to read like fiction but I promise you, it is all true. I went to get something, turned around and the bag was on the other end of the counter. I'm SERIOUS. The little fuckers were doing some sort of leap frog, crawly over thingy atop each other in tandem, forcing the bag to lolly over itself all along the counter.

And they were moving at a fairly solid clip.

I chuckled good naturedly ( as someone who is about to die in a horror film is apt to do) and pulled one of them out. "Are you trying to get away?" I giggled into it's face. This next part is going to both horrify and amaze you. Ralph might even consider it for the showbar, it was so crazy.

 The son of a bitch slapped me.

Reared back it's elasticed up little claw and struck me, like I was a trailer park hooker, across the cheek.

 I swear the little bastard grinned at me and I vowed that he would be the first one to die.

Fucking Degenerate
 Trev usually puts in the lobster, not because I'm squeamish but because I'm not very tall and in order to do it quickly, you have to have a higher vantage point than I can offer. So Trev puts them in and the kids are fascinated. I made him put Ted Bundy in first and I even whispered through gritted teeth, "Who's smiling now fucker?" and Trev looked at me like I was nuts. I put the lid on the pot.

Lobster don't take long to cook and after a few minutes, the kids asked to see what they looked like. So I grab the, the next few seconds will go down in history as the most controversial events in the Lyons' family memories. There will be debates, arguments and renactments for years to come as we try to unravel the sequence of events that led to my near death.

 I reach in with my tongs, see a flicker of movement and my truth states that those little fuckers stayed alive long enough to crawl out of the boiling water and throw hot molten-like liquid in my beautiful face. Trying to scar me for life like a soap opera star or the phantom of the opera. Like a driveby shooting, I was a victim of the vicious actions of a monster.

Trev says that the tongs slipped and I splashed myself.

Either way, a millisecond later complete chaos ensued. I am screaming like a banshee because it feels like my skin is melting off my face and a thousand bees are stinging my neck. Julia, who was terrified of the lobster anyway, was screaming, "They got my Mom! She's going to DIE" while jumping up and down on the island because she felt like this was safer. Trev, for some reason, thought that I had burnt my chest, so he kept trying to rip off my shirt and bra so that my clothes wouldn't melt to me and force me to wear an Aero Postale logo branded on my skin for the rest of my life.

 I just thought he was just picking a stupid time to get frisky and kept slapping his hands away. This apparently means that you are going into some kind of shock so the more I slapped him away, the more insistent on my nudity he was. Ethan, being the only sensible one among us, grabbed the hose attached to the sink and sprayed me dead in the face with it. He looked like a little fireman, all intensive and hero-like. But the only thing was, he didn't stop spraying, even when I opened my mouth and raised my hands in protest. He just kept spraying, turning the whole thing into some weird waterboarding incident while his father, ripped off my clothing and his sister cheered him on.

Not a Norman Rockwell family moment.

So, to recap, I am standing, half naked, soaking wet with red streaks on my face and neck and my entire family is in an uproar around me and I hear a tiny little bubbly laugh from the pot.

 Well played motherfucker....well played.

Trev was insistent that I should have gotten some sort of medical attention but I was equally insistent that we eat first. "So we are just going to pretend everything is fine?" he quipped while glaring at me and mopping the floor. He didn't understand that I NEEDED to eat this creature. "Yup, because that motherfucker tried to kill me. And if you try to kill me, I will eat your motherfucking body." I said in my best 'Mob Wives' voice. He rolled his eyes and kept mopping.

So, twenty minutes later, after the trauma counsellors left, with some burn cream and an ice pack taped to my face like I was Rocky, I picked up that lobster and with as much bravado as I could muster while seeing out only one eye, snapped his body in half, ripped it apart and ate every single morsel of it.

 So, you see, I won in the end and I won't scar so I can still be a star of the stage and screen as I was meant to be and that gangster, bad ass, Ted Bundy of a lobster, will never hurt another human again.

I'm a hero and a victim and I live to eat another day.

PS Shortly after finishing this post, I stood up from the table and felt a sharp stab in the bottom of my foot. Wincing and cursing, I gingerly lifted my leg to see a hunk of sharp lobster claw lodged in my skin. The bastard got me in the end.

The battle continues......

Sunday 7 September 2014

Halifax to the Max

We're here! We're here! We're here!

The Lyons family has arrived in Halifax. We are now Haligonians. That's actually what people who live in Halifax are called, I looked it up. So far, I am so in love with this place, I feel like it's one long first date where I don't have to shave my legs and I can fart. Haligonians fart, I looked it up.

If you are Canadian and haven't been to Halifax, it's like Vancouver and Ottawa had a baby and that baby decided not to be like their snooty, pretentious, egotistical, superior parents. Halifax is iconically beautiful but humble, just like me and Princess Caroline. If you aren't Canadian, I have nothing to compare it just have to come.

I haven't done too much shopping for GF food yet, the baby Daddy got here before us and loaded the kitchen shelves. He says that Superstore has all the same things that I like from the Calgary store (Udi's bread, Glutino pancake mix) and the prices seem the same (vomit inducingly high) so it looks like I'm not going to have too many problems there.

Restaurant wise, things seem okay here. They have several regular chain restaurants that we frequent at home and since we have only been here for a few days, I haven't had a chance to try everything. The first night we got here, the hubby, spawn and I headed downtown to explore. At first, my favorite thing to look at (other than the ocean) was the Citadel.  The Citadel is an old fort that was used to protect Canadian shores from whatever used to attack us before the world realized we are badasses. Not mentioning any names here, but Canada did burn down a certain pale cream colored house once, it was so pale in color that one might even call it a White House, if they wanted to be a jerk, which of course, I don't want to be. The last thing I am is provocative. As you well know. The Citadel is also white, but hasn't been burnt down by anyone, anywhere, just saying.

I digress, down the hill from the Citadel is The Five Fishermen where we promptly headed for some, you know it, lobster. If you don't like lobster, stop reading this and go get yourself a tongue transplant because you are broken. Nothing tastes as good as lobster and there is nothing so scrumptious as eating lobster twenty feet away from where it was caught. At The Five Fishermen, we were greeted by a lovely server with lots of Gluten Free knowledge and lots of love for the spawn. Thank God because I was getting tired of pretending to like them.

I decided against ordering an entire crustacean mainly because I hadn't slept properly in about five days and had so little energy, the lobster, even in it's dead-like state, would have bested me. I thought it was prudent to allow the fine chefs to take care of that for me. I ordered the Lobster Cobb.

Now, normally, when lobster is added to something, anything, like a hat or a craft project or a salad, it is itty bitty pieces that are hardly indistinguishable from the rest of the ingredients. "Is this a cucumber or a piece of lobster? Is that a button on your hat or a piece of lobster?" This is not the case at The Five Fishermen. I honestly thought that they had made some mistake or were giving me special treatment. That's why I didn't take a picture of it because I thought I should eat as much lobster as possible before they realized their mistake and I can't be responsible for something they can't prove is in my stomach (I learnt that the hard way in prison). It occurred to me  that they might have thought I was Sandra Bullock or Angelina Jolie (happens ALL the time) and had therefore, stepped up their lobster portion in the salad.

This was not so, the server (after falling backward in shock to discover that I was not Angelina Jolie) told me that no mistake had been made, this was how much lobster regular people get. There were actual full, claws in there, it was insanity. I devoured it. The boyfriend had the lobster roll because he likes to eat gluten right in front of me like a chump sometimes and he says it was amazing. I don't even know what the spawn had because The Five Fishermen has ten ounce wine pours so the kids could have been playing in traffic for all I remember. It's okay though, because people in Halifax are so kind, that they probably would have taken the kids home, bought them new clothes, taught them algebra and then returned them in back in time for dessert.

I live here now, at least for the next year and if the last four days are any reflection? Being a Haligonian is going to be the best thing that ever happened to me.

This is me at Peggy's Cove where the famous lighthouse is. My kid is taking the picture.

This is my face when he said, "Oh, did you want the lighthouse in the picture too?"  Please note that I am moving threateningly toward the camera.

Thursday 28 August 2014

No Wire Hangers

Moving sucks. There are no two ways about it, moving is the worst, most horrific experience outside of being eaten alive by mutant beetles. The never ending cycle of sorting and packing and cleaning and red tape and emails and goodbyes is like giving birth for a month straight. It sucks. People who claim that they love moving are either soft in the head, or liars.

The worst part is the cleaning....

The cleaning, oh the cleaning, it might be the death of me. Now, I run a fairly tight ship here at Chez Lyons. I like a clean house. I don't think I am, normally, insane about this but then again, I don't live with myself. My kid once drew a picture of me. In it, I was vacuuming while wearing jeans and high heels. There was a table in the background with a glass of wine and a laptop on it. If there was a Hashtag 'NAILED IT' moment, that would be it. However, maintaining the level of clean that our house needs to have for this move is beyond overwhelming.

Did you ever see the movie 'Mommy Dearest'? Joan Crawford is depicted in this iconic peep into the mind of the famously crazy.  People quote this movie when they want to share the idea of a controlling, mental, should be locked in a white padded room, detailed level of crazy.

"NO WIRE HANGERS!" Joan yells while she beats a little blond girl in hair rags and pink pyjamas.

Except for the mental, physical, and emotional abuse, fancy mansion, long legs and rampant quaalude use...this is me this week.

Sadly, and I'm not proud to say this, I caught myself hollering, "I'm not mad at you! I'm mad at the dirt!" the other day, which is literally a line from the movie. It was awful. But, things have to be perfect, so the kids are stuck with a watered down, less violent Joan Crawford for a few more days.

You know what isn't perfect? Our food choices. Oh good lord, I think my children may have dangerously high levels of cholesterol by the end of it all. We have to eat out, a lot. There is no point in shopping for a bunch of food that we aren't going to finish by the time we leave. Also, I don't want anyone to cook anything that would mess up the kitchen. Trev tried to use the oven the other day and I leapt at him with a Spartacus level of rage. Make bacon? Are you insane? Did you polish the toaster and clean out the crumbs with a toothbrush? No? Is there a butler around that I didn't know existed? I can tell you that it is very difficult to make lunch out of icing sugar, relish and sunflower seeds.

 Dinner decisions are based on speed and cleanliness, not nutrition, and if my kids don't have scurvy by next week, I will be shocked.

My Celiacs has suffered as well. I have not been kind to my gut as of late. I am eating a lot of crap, like frozen gf meals and preserved food. Remember, just because something is gluten free, that doesn't make it good for you. A TV dinner is a TV dinner and food that has a long shelf life, has a lot of stuff in it to make that happen. Stuff that isn't necessarily good for you. Don't eat it everyday because it will rot at your insides. But right now, I don't have a choice and convenience simply must take precedence over subsidence. And you know what? That's okay. I've said it before and I will keep saying it because it appears as though some of you aren't listening.

Mommy Guilt has no place at the table.

Feed your family the best you can today and get over it.

If my house has to be perfect, nothing else can be. So my kids ate pancakes from McDonalds the other day. Did you feel that? Did you sense the judgment coming from other readers? Notice that I said other readers, not you, oh no, you would never judge me for feeding my spawn McDonalds would you? Never.

The kids  were also sent to the store with three bucks each so I could clean behind the couches in peace and they came home with nothing but gummy candies in strangely phallic shapes dipped in salt or sugar or formaldehyde. I don't know, I don't care. I just needed to clean under the couches....again.

Our adventure is officially underway and with any luck, a vegetable might find it's way into our mouths on the way to Halifax. If not, that's okay. I still have wine and the kids have discovered that Cheetos have protein in them. Hashtag, Nailed It.

I gotta go clean something with a toothpick now....

Thursday 17 July 2014

A Freaking Celiac in Atlantic Canada

Life is a messy business. If you are doing it right, your life should not be boring. That's just the way I like it. I panic at boring. I can't do monotony, I don't know how anyone could. I like the chaos and the last minute crazy that happens to me all the time. Not drama, I don't do drama. Keep your passive aggressive, gossip whispering OMGs to yourselves.

However, I will always embrace the change and the flux of a well embraced life.

My husband, has accepted a transfer to the City of Halifax for one year starting in September. For those of you who aren't Canadian, which more and more of my readers everyday are not ( step it up Canada seriously) it's the same as moving from Montana to Maine or Moscow to Khabarovsk (can I google or what bitches? Могу ли я таращить карту или что суки?)

Halifax is far from Calgary (about a 5 day drive going balls to walls), but it's not the other side of the world. Our two cities are very different in industry and size and I am really excited to have the spawn experience something new. When his company first came to us with this idea, I screamed 'YES'! I love stuff like this. I love shaking life up. However, shaking your life up comes with a lot of shit along with it.

Such as?

-  A To Do List that is taller than my body

 - A house to pack up and feeling like I'm on an episode of Hoarders. "We are all just five bad decisions away from shitting in a bucket." Cory Chalmers, Hoarders. Make the right call people, seventeen chafing dishes is seventeen too many.

 - Mail forwarding, which is a huge pain in the ass -would we expect anything less from the postal service? I might have to train some pigeons or pony expresses or whatever can get my monthly subscription of  'US' Magazine to me. Gotta keep up with those Kardashians (that was a joke -don't stop reading my blog and throw rotten lettuce at me).

 - Property management companies (who look like nice people in golf shirts but they are really just judgy assholes with clipboards)

 - Renters - who are super duper weird sometimes. One guy gave me a 'pet name' during our email exchange to set up the time for viewing. No honey, Poopsey here isn't going to give you her address. The nice ones have some minor reason for not taking it, "Oh, does it have 16 cupboards in the kitchen? Jeez louise darnit all, we were looking for 17, too bad."

 - Two kids who can't decide if they like this idea or not. One minute, it's like we are going to Disneyland and the next, it's like I am forcing them to live in the back of a sketchy carneys semi-truck for 12 months - they are all panic and fear and clutching toys to their chests like tsunami survivors.

 - Insurance companies who seem to be confused about who works for who. Here's how it is, I pay you a shit ton of money, you save that money, and if my house is blown up in a botched meth lab operation by the creepy renter people, you give me all that money and some extra because I am pretty. What shouldn't happen, is you telling me that I can't leave my home or there will be consequences. It's like the mafia has taken over my insurance company, "Yous betta do what we tells ya doll, or Vinny here's gonna get reeeeeeeel upsetted bout it." If my insurance company has the word "CANADA" in it, and I am moving within the country of "CANADA" this should not be complicated. It's not Abu Dhabi, it's Halifax for the love of God, they have a Costco.

 - Trying to find people to take care of my kids shitty pets is like trying to adopt out a rabid, feces tossing, ill-tempered orangutan rather than a fucking hamster. I knew I would regret the stupid lizard that does nothing but watch my son sleep and lick it's eyeballs. Still, people, seriously, foster the fucking fish for the love of all that is holy. I'm not asking you to take one of the kids, which you totally could by the way if that shit's on the table but either spawn comes with a lizard, a hamster, a swimming frog and two stupid fish. None of these things need to be returned alive at the end of the year, or returned at all to be honest. If you wanna pay for my genius kid to go to MIT, giver shit. The other one wants to be on 'Toddlers and Tiaras' and be Jane Goddall at the same time.... have fun with that.

What I haven't had time to think about is my Celiacs. Do they have restaurants there that are Gluten Friendly? Do they have health food stores that carry the weird ingredients I need to make something as simple as a chocolate chip cookie? Do they have gastroenterologists in case this shit (literally there) goes south?

Who knows? I don't have time to research. If anyone wants to be my helper monkey on that, I would give you a gold star and send a midget stripper to your house.

I've booked my flight, which might or might not be taken with a lizard and a hamster shoved in my bra and a frog in my contact case, I've picked out our new home and packed up thirty bulging eyed, smelly stuffed animals for their trek across our fine country.

I will figure it out. At the very least, lobster is gluten free and I can eat that bit of golden love three meals a day if I have to.

Check back here for updates on A Freaking Celiac in Atlantic Canada. All I can figure, is that life going to get messier from here on out....just the way I like it.

Monday 7 July 2014

Indulgence at Rouge

I have been married for thirteen years as of last month. Am I some sort of marriage expert? Hardly. I feel like my marriage is so personal that trying to give anyone advice on how to do it is silly. It's like asking you how you are a best friend to your best friend, it's not possible. You just DO it. I can tell you though, that my marriage is built on laughter, a...lot....of......laughter. If you have ever laughed out loud at this blog, you would love my husband because he is WAY funnier than I am.

 The main theme of our marriage though, is indulgence. My husband indulges me, incessantly. He has stopped by the side of the road, in a suit, to pick up a rusted old firepit and heft it into the back of the truck because I thought it had charm. Indulgence. He then took the same fireplace to the dump three weeks later because it was so rusty, it started to disintegrate in the back yard causing a volcano like lava to run across the deck towards the kids toes. He saved the children, put out the fire and didn't make me feel bad about any of it. Indulgence. He buys me Gluten Free Chocolates once a month, and reads all of my novels multiple times. He hears me when I tell him we are going to go to Antigua or Africa one day, and he will make it happen, because he indulges me.

The theme of our 13th Anniversary dinner was certainly one of indulgence.

We went to Rouge.

I have been wanting to go to the historic home of AE Cross for a while. Not only has it been ranked number sixty in the top 100 restaurants, Rouge has been a Calgary favorite for years now and after visiting last night, I can see why. It's the indulgence. Plain and simple. Rouge indulges it's guests and truly makes them feel special. Often, with higher end restaurants, even the most experienced diner can be made to feel judged and looked down upon. But Rouge has a way about it that is very unique indeed.

Maybe it's because it's in an old home that you feel so comfortable. Maybe it's the jolly reddish color of the exterior or the lush lawns and gardens surrounding the house in the middle of the urban sprawl. I think it's the people too. Rouge has hired staff that love their job and love the food they serve you and love that you love it. There is a personal touch to everything and it felt both personal and indulgent.

My Celiacs of course was no problem for the fine chefs at Rouge. When informed of my Celiacs, the  server told me with confidence that I could have almost anything I liked and that the chef's would alter my meal accordingly. He offered to get the details of any modifications for my approval but I felt so comfortable that I told him to let the chef's decide for themselves. And they did a beautiful job.

Let's talk about indulgence shall we?

Appetizer was a Risotto 'Carbonara', Poached Duck Egg, Lamb Bacon (LAMB BACON PEOPLE) and Grana Padano. My entrée was a 36 Hour Pork Belly and Atlantic Lobster, Parisienne Gnocchi and Shitake Mushrooms, Spiced Yoghurt - obviously the Gnocchi was omitted from my dish but I didn't notice because someone had put pork belly and lobster on the same plate in front of me. Basically, I just blacked out with happiness at that point. Dessert was a Flourless Chocolate Torte.....self explanatory there.

There were soft palate cleaners, presented without any pomposity, a wine suggestion made without snootiness and a genuine feeling that everyone just wanted you to love it there.

Rouge is easy to love, much like my husband.

After dinner, Trev and I asked to see the gardens and after slipping off my heels and sauntering through the spring grass barefoot, were then indulged and given a personal tour by a server Andrew and one of the Sous Chef's, Eric. Their enthusiasm was infectious and we spent twenty minutes touring the garden and property. Rouge grows as much of it's own produce as it can and indeed, while we chatted, several chefs came out with scissors, selected an herb, snipped it off and returned to the kitchen. Can you GET fresher than that? Hot house tomatoes, micro-greens and fifty year old rubarb plants square neatly in the shadow of this (by today's standard) modest house. It was indulgence at it's finest.

I don't remember ever having a better experience at a restaurant and will certainly be back.

After all, I have many more anniversaries to come. Because I will let you in on a little secret, no one on this planet, would put up with me the way my husband does. No one.  He puts up with my shenanigans, the swearing, the wild manic laughter, the crazy beyond crazy ideas and dreams and on top of all that, he puts up with my Celiacs.
 Now that is what I call, indulgence.

Monday 12 May 2014

The Only Constant is Change....

I've been a mother for a decade now. Seriously, a decade. I have learnt many things in the last 10 years of this job. Mainly, I learned that there is no mastering the art of mothering. It's a job that changes so rapidly that it is impossible to do it well. No other job in the world requires a totally overhaul of your skill set every few months and yet no training is all. I have had the same job for ten years and I don't know if I ever went to bed patting myself on the back for a perfect day.

Perfection doesn't exist in the real world and it needs to be far away from the mothering world.

The other thing I have learned is that plans never, ever go as planned. Never. Make plans, then have eight million plan b's then know deep down in your heart that plan c will ultimately play out. Let go of the dream, you aren't in charge. You can plan a schedule of events at Disneyland and need to understand that you might just spend the day waiting in line to ride just the teacups. Plan as many magical moments as you want to but you will learn that the magic only happens when you aren't planning.

All plans will go out the window....own that.

Best example of this was my Mother's day this year. My baby Daddy/boyfriend/husband had planned a wonderful day, including a lunch at Craft Beer Market for my Mother's day. I was awakened after a nice sleep in, given an omelet and bacon in bed and lots of brag worthy gifts. Then I was given as much alone time as I wanted to get ready for a lunch with us and the spawn.

It was all going according to plan until we got to Craft Beer Market.

Now, hubby knows the rules of the Celiac road and had called ahead to discuss my issues. He was told that there would be a great deal of gluten free options for breakfast and lunch and they could always make me something from the regular menu.

When we got to the restaurant though, the hostess didn't seem to know what I could or could not have on the buffet, she went to check with the manager and I was beckoned to go and have a chat with the Executive Chef. Really nice guy, very knowledgeable but not many GF options. There were several tables set up with breakfast and lunch options but out of it all, I could have bacon and an omelet. Seeing how it was 1:30 in the afternoon, and I had already had my breakfast, I didn't want an omelet or bacon. I couldn't even have anything on the fruit and cheese table because there were crackers mixed all in it all. I was very sad when he said that there was no way I could eat off the regular menu. So, despite the fact that I love Craft Beer Market, we could no longer have it as our plan for the day.

So we went to plan B. Anjeo, another one of my faves for Gluten Free food. We gave them a call, and whipped down there for a fantastic lunch. I love all their dishes but really, just the chicken corn tacos are amazing. Add in some gorgeous salsa, fresh guacamole and two double margaritas and you have one happy mommy on your hands. Fantastic service, gorgeous gluten free food and the spawn using a napkin without prompting for once, what more could I ask for? 

Life is better without planning.

I tend to not tell people how to run their lives, but if you are looking for some solid mommy tools to roll with the parental punches, please read the only advise I can give you:
Make sure you always have;

Kleenexes in your purse for wiping faces, bums, noses and shoes. Add a pen for coloring.
A Tupperware container in the car for magical sticks or flowers found at the park, holding a happy meal, digging something or (of course) vomit.
A towel for said vomit, the kid that fell in the fountain, river, peed it's pants or covered itself in ice cream. This towel can be used as a diaper or a cape or a crazy hat on crazy hat day when you forget, because, you will forget.

 Other than that, stop planning. Stop, just stop.

The only thing I know as a mother for sure is the less I plan, the happier everyone is.

Stop planning because they aren't going to work out anyway. Go to plan B, plan C, plan D and at the end of it all... have a margarita.

I hope you had a great Mother's Day...I certainly did.

Wednesday 16 April 2014

The Best Living Thing in Drumheller

Let's talk about Drumheller. Never heard of Drumheller? Really? You should Google it because you should know all about Drumheller.

Drumheller is a small town in the province of Alberta. It was founded on the rich mines that spatter the area but in the process of mining, the fine people of Drumheller made an amazing discovery.

They had dinosaurs.....a .....lot....of .....dinosaurs.

Drumheller is synonymous with dinosaurs and holds some of the most magnificent specimens of dino bones in the world. The town has taken a shining to this tourist gold mine and almost everything is dinosaur themed. From Dinosaur statues that line the streets to the fossil stores and the worlds largest dinosaur, Drumheller has something for kids of all ages and will not disappoint. On spring break, I took the spawn on one of our Alberta adventures and since we haven't been to Drum in a little while, they begged to go.

Being a Celiac, my first thought should have been, 'where are we going to eat?' but I'm getting a little tired of that shtick. I'm so exhausted with the worry of it all. I'm tired of panicking about where my next meal is coming from like I am living in a box or I'm Lindsay Lohan. So I have somewhat stopped worrying about it. This is not to say that I throw caution to the wind. I prep, I bring some things for me to eat but at the end of the day, so what if I have a bag of chips for dinner? Won't be the first time. Won't be the last, so I am not going to fret about it anymore.

And with most things in the universe, when you let it go, the answer will come. That answer came in the form of Sublime Food and Wine in Drumheller.

We were making our way through the town to the Royal Tyrell Museum (where the bones are) and the spawn were counting the Dinosaur statues. Well, Julia was counting the statues, Ethan was explaining to Julia the physiological impossibility of a dinosaur driving a motorcycle (apparently their heads were too heavy to maintain a balance, not to mention their mental capacity) and Julia was explaining that she knew that and to not IMPLY (that's her new favorite word) that she was stupid. Ethan said he wasn't IMPLYING anything and to quit acting like  baby. Ethan then went on to discuss the fact that these dinos wouldn't even live at the same time because some were from the Cretaceous period and others were not and the scale was off etc. Julia then looked at him and said, 'I don't think they are going for scientific accuracy because THAT one is polka dotted' Then an entire discussion on camouflage and skin patterning ensued in addition to the value of polka dots in town décor.

...This is my life people....soak in the glory.

Anyhoo, I had resigned myself to eating at (yuck) Boston Pizza when we passed by this delightful converted house with lime green trim called Sublime Food and Wine. I knew instantly that we would be eating dinner there. So, after a long day at the museum, checking in at the hotel and driving the eleven bridges to Wayne (I refuse to explain that one, go visit), I called Sublime and made a reservation.

Delightful doesn't fully encompass this gem of a restaurant. It was cute while being sophisticated and homey without being kitschy. In addition, the spawn LOVED it. 

Charming decor. Please note: spawn photo bombing with her new pterodactyl.

We were served by a lovely lady named Trinity who knew her gluten free and made sure everything was safe. In addition, everything was AMAZINGLY delicious. I had the grilled chicken and it was fresh and gorgeous and so good that I had to restrain myself from licking the plate.

Fresh, local food, prepared with thought and care.

 In fact, everything was so amazing that the kids insisted that we go there the next day for lunch. And so we did, because when my kids want to go somewhere that has an extensive wine list, I agree. When I mentioned that we would like to come back the next day, Trinity leans over and whispers, "Would you like me to pull a bun for you so you can have a sandwich tomorrow?" And the Angels wept with the beauty of it all. Let me make it clear that I was planning on leaving early the next morning. We stayed in town an extra three hours just to go to this restaurant again. I'm not kidding, it was THAT good.

This was my lunch the next day. Prime Rib Melt on a Gluten Free bun. Yeah, this exists.

Ethan had the pulled pork sandwich and Julia had the hot dog Perfect kids food.

 The spawn are begging to go back every week. This is how good Sublime Food and Wine is, it wins over the freaking dinosaurs!

So now, thank heaven's, Drumheller has some options for those of us who love road trips but hate road trip food. This Celiac will be back and I hope to see you all there.



Tuesday 18 March 2014

In The Merry Old Land of Oz

Oh Doctor! Oh Doctor Oz. What have you done? Why why why did you say that and in that tone and with that context, or lack thereof? Why? Because now we all have to blog about you. We all do and to be honest, like really honest, I don't want to blog about you. But now I have to. I have to put my feet on one side of the line or the other and I have a sneaking suspicion that Celiacs aren't going to like what I have to say.
Dr. Oz isn't my favorite, I could not imagine a worse fate than getting a pap smear by the yippy yappy medical man. I think his show, although having the intention of being educational, breeds a level of hypochondrial panic that I don't enjoy. If one more person starts a sentence with 'On Dr. Oz, he said....' Ugh, no thank you.
And the other day, he decided to talk about Gluten Free Diets. Bad move my friend, bad move.
So here's the deal in case anyone was wondering. Doctor Oz, went on the Seth Myers Show and publically said that a gluten free diet is total bullshit. He said 'BS' and added 'a scam' for good measure. Sigh. Now everyone is pissed off that a Doctor is calling our lifestyle bullshit. Everyone is raging about the 'Celiac Community' and now we have taken a hit. That Oz had a perfect opportunity to educate the world on Celiac disease and didn't take it, instead he threw us under the bus.

As I am typing this, I am wincing.

I agree with Doctor Oz, the GF diet IS Bullshit.

Someone just threw a rotten head of lettuce at my head and screamed 'traitor'.

I agree with him because everyone is taking this quote out of context. Seth asks Oz about new diet crazes and then specifically mentions Gluten Free diet and gives Oz two options, real deal and bullshit and Oz picked bullshit. I agree.

A gluten free diet is not a weight loss diet, I have said this again and again and again. Stop thinking that you are going to lose weight if you switch out your bread or get gluten free cereal. You won't. I also agree when Oz goes on to say that if you have a problem with Gluten, you should swap the wheat out for other options, amaranth etc. He basically implies that processed gluten free foods are full of crap. Want to know why? Because processed gluten free foods are full of crap, that's why. He's right. Back off the good doctor.
Claiming that he has somehow insulted Celiacs by saying these things is ridiculous. Stop being so sensitive. He doesn't mean Celiacs, he means anyone who thinks that cutting gluten out of their diet will change their lives. He means the people who think that it will cure their child of Autism or ADHD. He means the people who just swap out their bread for GF bread and expect to look like Jillian Michaels the next day. He means the people that start eating gluten free pasta and are under the impression that they will be smarter, more athletic and happier. Gluten isn't making you sad. You make you sad.
Oz made a point of saying that if you want to help yourself, get real foods that don't naturally contain gluten. It's like he can read my MIND!
And no, Dr. Oz's job is not to spread the word about our disease. That's your job. You have Celiacs, not Oz. So represent. Your whinging and sensitivity and bitching and moaning isn't doing a very good job. So toughen up and cut it out. Show the world that we are strong and healthy.
While I seem to be on a roll of pissing everyone off, I will continue by being offended by the fact that other bloggers have said that Oz insulted "The Celiac Community". And I ask, what community? What the hell are you talking about? We share a disease, you haven't helped me move or babysat my kids. Is there a clubhouse I am missing out on? Secret handshake? No? In addition, I don't want to be a part of a community that just goes around complaining all the time. Quit your whining.
No one has to be an advocate for you but you, everyone else is icing on the cake.

So no, Dr. Oz is not my favorite guy on TV but I think in this instance, Celiacs' are being too sensitive and need to get thicker skin.

Sunday 5 January 2014

Cheating Bastards!

I know what they are up to. Yes I do. They think I don't know. They think they have pulled the wool over my eyes. But I am on to them.

My husband Trevor and my friend Natasha have had a thing going for years. They think they've fooled me but they are wrong.

Natasha has been sneaking shortbread to Trevor every Christmas for three years now.

I attempt, every single year to make a GF Shortbread. Every year, I fail miserably. I admit it. GF shortbread fucking sucks. I have tried every different flour and guar gum and xanthum gum and prayer and voodoo tactic that I have come across and every single year it tastes like a ball of shit. Well, no, a ball of shit would stay in one piece, not shatter when you touch it like a pile of snow.

Trevor, being the loving supporting yummy man he is, eats my shortbread. He eats them without fail and without complaint. He even eats the ones I have set aside for the children. That's right, he has thrown himself on the GF sword for his love of our children. That was a tough one to figure out. It took some well placed lights, a sensitive seven year old , dental floss and a Monster High doll named Frankie Stein to get to the truth. I am not proud of the steps I have been forced to take to discover my husband's shady dealings, but I did what I had to do.

Natasha is Scottish and one of my dearest friends. She also makes the best fucking shortbread this side of the English Channel. Bitch.

Every Christmas, she sneaks a container to Trevor and he hides them and eats them when I am not looking. She even has the audacity to throw in some Scottish sausage every once in a while. Selfish bastards. Picture it, it's Christmas time, any time of day really, lets be honest, I lean in for a kiss, Trev tosses me his cheek and I know what has happened. He's been eating Natasha's wares. Dammit.

This year was not an epic fail for the GF shortbread thanks to the progression of Robin Hood Flour but short bread is one of those things that you can't just get close enough. You have to get it just right and it's impossible to get just right. Mine turned out okay, they looked a little grey though which makes them unappetizing. The shortbread was, at best, vaguely acceptable this year, and I'm being generous. Was it as good as Natasha's full of gluten shortbread? Hell No! Will my husband ever admit to this? Hell No!

The thing that I did master this Christmas season was GF Yorshire pudding. I decided to make a roast for Christmas dinner. A choice that caused my Mother to yell, "But we're Catholic!" but still agree to sit and eat. She never clarified why Catholics can't eat beef on Christmas. I doubt she even knows.

The BAD Yorkshire!
 I started trying out the Yorkshire a week before Christmas. It took about four batches and I and ended up melding about three recipes together to get the desired effect. They were good and well enjoyed. I will toss the recipe for those in the recipe section.

The GOOD Yorksire

Don't be afraid to try new things. If you have a craving for something, try it gluten free. What's the worst that could happen? You husband prefers another woman's shortbread? Small price to pay in order to feed your adventurous side. I fail at GF food ALL the time. I'm not going to say that I'm delighted when the buns come out looking like grey hockey pucks that not even the hamster would eat, because that would be a lie. It pisses me off but I keep trying and eventually succeed and I hope you do too.

 If you fail at GF anything that's okay. Pick yourself up and try again. If you are lucky, you will have a husband who is willing to lie to you (terribly) and a dear friend who is willing to reward him for his loyalty to you.