Photo Christmas Catch Up

If I’m behind on updating my blog, I’m really behind on uploading photos anywhere. So instead of giving y’all a verbal update on my life, I’ll give you a visual one. But one quick note…towards the end of the photos, you’ll start to see glasses-less me. I’m climbing the uphill battle of giving contacts a try. We’ll see how that turns out.

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After many childhood trips to South Bend to see my grandfather, I finally made it to a Notre Dame game. And since I can’t tailgate with beer, I figured, why not champagne. Mumm…if you need a spokesperson, I’m available!

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Spotted at Thanksgiving. My all-time favorite photo. This hangs in my grandparents house showing all the cousins that were born by that point. I have always been cynical. 

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The brother and I before the annual Thanksgiving hike. Also before our trip planning to Zanzibar next year.

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Took a weekend trip to DC to see my bestest friend. Much needed quality time.

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And I can’t go to DC without seeing my soulmate, Fou. Unfortunately, all our non-blurry photos are not quite as flattering. This girl was the reason I got through my one semester at Centre.

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The Bengals vs. Cowboys game with my girl Jilly. Always gotta make it to one game at PBS. Even if we did lose.

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A work trip took me to San Jose, Cali, and in case you’re wondering, this is how they put up Christmas lights.

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I’ve been going to the Crosstown Shootout my entire life, and always with this guy. A little odd this year on neutral ground, and our team lost (I’ve got a bad streak going on here), but I have now seen this game played at every major arena in Cincinnati.

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This year, Jordann went with us! 

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My hair and I don’t always get along, and when we don’t, it’s not pretty. The hair to face ratio is just not okay.

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Alice, aka Snacks, one of my co-worker’s daughters came in this week to help us spread some holiday cheer. It’s been a lot of work, but we’re finally starting to bond. 

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I’m Alive!

I’ve heard the thing about blogging is sometimes you have to write when you don’t have anything to write about. But clearly, I haven’t taken that advice until now (because I really have nothing to write, but I thought I should let everyone know I’m still alive).

My life has been fully consumed with work, so when people ask me how I’ve been, I typically have really boring responses. Until you know the right questions to ask, and then I can tell you stories for hours. But that’s neither here nor there.

So I’ve been working a lot, and under a lot of stress, but my stomach has held out! Talk about small miracles! I got blood redrawn a few weeks ago, and the tests came back normal, so now it’s a waiting game. And by that I mean, waiting to see when the pain comes back. Or until December when I’m supposed to get another test. Whichever comes first.

The biggest thing that’s going on in my life is really the preparations for Thanksgiving (that’s a stretch…it’s pretty minor…but yeah I’m struggling for content here!). Last year was technically my first year as a gluten intolerant person, but I was on my cleanse, so I wasn’t expecting to eat anything. So this is my first year trying to eat real food. And I’m not exactly sure how that’s gonna turn out. I am ordering some gluten free treats from a bakery in Chicago (thanks Jamie!), so I won’t feel totally left out. But the amazing fried biscuits are out of commission. Major downer.

On another Thanksgiving note, my friend Karen and I did our annual shopping for the Thanksgiving Food Drive with Crossroads. This year we upped the ante and got 3 boxes. That amount of food makes for a very heavy cart. I almost bit it head first when my feet went backwards and the cart refused to move forwards. But thankfully my nose and teeth are alright.

To make this very uninspired entry seem a little more inspired, I will now include photos to make my life look awesome. But don’t worry, it’s all fake.

Happy (early) Thanksgiving!

 

1. A Reds Championship game with father. I can’t say anything else about it. It still hurts.

2. Annual girls trip this year went to Chicago. Sandwiched between blondes, all wearing leggings.

3. Goofing around at work

4. I’m just really adding to my coolness here. Some iPad entertainment with markerstaches.

5. Halloween! Rocked the crap out of the Replacement Ref costume.

6. The girls on Halloween

7. My absolute little favorite nugget. Please note the size of my hands in relationship to her body. Man hands for sure.

8. Thanksgiving shopping. Left is Karen basting me because last year I shot air straight into her eyeball with one of those things. This year she was prepared.

Fake Out

I apologize for the absence from my posts.  Between cat, house and life issues, I became very complacent to this gluten thing.  What I mean by that is that I took the attitude gluten didn’t actually bother me, and I could eat it.  This all came to a head when I decided to have a 5 Guys burger and fries.

In reality, I probably should have done this experiment two weeks earlier, but I never really considered it.  And if you’re doing a gluten free experiment, I recommend doing it after a week.  That way you know earlier so you don’t wonder later.

So back to my burger and fries.  I knew about four bites in that gluten and I were no longer friends.  But really, I wasn’t about to stop in the middle of my burger.  And damn – I missed bread.  The texture, consistency and taste.  It can only be compared to rediscovering a band you loved – that feeling of “Why did I ever stop?”

Well, I’ll tell you why.  I had to drive directly home after lunch and after some stomach issues, I laid down to recuperate.  I fell asleep reading and when I went to stand up, I almost collapsed because my legs felt like lead.  It took a significant (and embarrassing amount) of effort to get them moving.  The rest of the day I was exhausted and I ended the night with a headache.

Gluten – it’s been a fun run.

This does raise some large questions – the main one currently being what am I going to do on Thanksgiving?? My favorite holiday food is loaded with gluten (some favorites – corn pudding and fried biscuits). And yeah, yeah, yeah – I know what you’re saying – I could make/bring my own.  But come on – it’s Thanksgiving!  And yes, I know it will make me feel sick, but stuffing? Green bean casserole? Apple pie? Enough said.

During this time, I have continued to cook/bake.  I remade my sweet potato/onion dish (here) and pumpkin oatmeal (here) because they were that delicious.

I’ve also reconnected with Pinterest which has opened doors at recipes.  Last night I made this healthy cookie dough and successfully tricked one of my co-workers.  I also made chocolate covered strawberries which were so ridiculously easy I felt a little silly that I’ve never made them before.  Since our local Kroger is closed for remodel, I stopped by Walgreens and bought large Hershey bars.  I broke those into chunks, microwaved on 50% for a minuted, stirred, at full power for 30 seconds, stirred and 10 more seconds at full power.  Then, I just dipped the strawberries in – and voila!

I also made gluten free chocolate chip cookies using a gluten free Betty Crocker mix.  They were delicious – even my coworkers liked them – but the texture wasn’t the exact same.

I haven’t been doing as much cooking as baking as I tend to be starving when I get home from work (ie – can’t wait to make something) or not hungry when I get back from Pure Barre (ie – not in the mood to make dinner), so I’ve turned to baking.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have a growing list of recipes.  Right now they include: Mexican Lasagna, Upside Down Potato and Onion Tart, Hasselback Potatoes, Rosemary Roasted Potatoes, Twice-Baked Potatoes with Rosemary and Feta, Turkey Caprese,  Rice and Cheese Treasures, and Flourless Chocolate Cake (you don’t think I could have a list of recipes without a dessert, do you??).

My parents return for Asia on Thursday so my cooking habits will have to modify (or I’ll have to make a trip to IKEA for some serious cooking dish shopping).  But I am trying to make a few more dishes before my parents get back to they don’t have an empty fridge.

But for tonight, it was Naked pizza.  Nothing like an onion, tomato and pineapple pizza to make me feel a little less gluten intolerant.  Cooking can wait until tomorrow.