The Mr. Yuk Sticker: Now A Handy Way to Label My Life

I’m beginning to think my doctor pulled a fast one on me. The horrible, horrible herbal tincture I have to drink to kill the second set of parasites is the most God-awful stuff on earth. Seriously. It’s so bad it comes with a Mr. Yuk sticker on the bottle. That’s right kids. You might want to consider downing the Dran-o before you touch this stuff. This stuff is POISON.

Imagine leaving a 25 gallon bag lawn of clippings, a bottle of nail polish remover, and about a dozen bicycle tires in a bathtub of old rainwater and you might come *close* to being able to imagine the flavor of this stuff. I’m beginning to think it actually IS old rainwater and tires and that my doctor just charged me $140.00 for the bottle just to see if I would actually hand over my credit card. I have to take it every day, three times a day, for the next THIRTY DAYS. And I can’t tell if the stuff is working or not. It would be more tolerable, I think, if I could tell it was working. Like, if the parasites would scream a little every time I tilted my head back, you know, because they could smell it coming or something, THAT would make me feel better. But, no. I just have to swallow this crap and hope that it’s killing SOMETHING down there. I DO know that my taste buds, the lining of my esophagus, and I’m pretty sure the outermost layer of skin on my gums are all dying. Yup, those are definitely dying. I can tell because those first doses made me feel like I had just swallowed a teaspoon of Ebola virus. After the first one or two, though, I finally got wise and utilized those early drinkin‘ day techniques and just opened up my throat and threw the stuff back without it even hitting my tongue. And here I thought my early twenties had taught me nothing….

I have been trying to avoid wheat lately. And eggs. And sugar. And dairy. Because, you know, the sugar is not going to help out my yeast problem. And the dairy and the wheat just cause inflammation. And the eggs… well, we’re not sure exactly what the eggs are doing, just that they’re in the red zone of the allergy test I took a few years back. So pretty much I’m eating boatloads of lentils and tomatoes and an occasional rice cracker. I have been experimenting with baking gluten free breads for a while now and I’ve gotten quite good at whipping up gluten free batches of cookies and pie crusts. Most of these recipes require a mix of flours, flours I usually have on hand, but which I may have run out of recently. You see, it’s important not to get cocky about one’s gluten free savoirefaire. It’s very important to follow recipe directions to the T. When the recipe calls for potato starch, for instance, it’s important to use potato starch and not, for instance, potato flour. Because, you might, for instance, even after the thirty minutes in the oven, wind up with a gummy, undercooked bread, and you might, for instance, throw your oven mitt in a blind rage at the pot of beans you’ve been boiling for an hour because you’ve ruined dinner, and you might, for instance, miss the pot and hit the burner instead and have to imagine explaining to a firefighter that the reason your apartment is on fire is because you are an impatient idiot who thinks “starch” and “flour” are interchangeable words. Burdy ran to the turntable and put on Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” after the whole fiasco. “You know”, he said to me, “To soothe the savage beast?” And then darted out of the kitchen to avoid getting caught in the eleven foot stream of lasers shooting out of my eyes and my short, windmilling arms.

This whole having to swallow paint thinner three times a day combined with not being able to eat, oh, I dunno, about 75% of the things I have been eating most of my life is making me REAL cranky. Good thing I also signed up to write a novel in thirty days to make me less stressed out.

On a positive note: I am unnervingly excited about the holidays this year. The feeling of insatiable giddiness doesn’t usually come on this early in the season. I usually spend most of December grousing about the weather and working twelve hours a day and having panic attacks over what to buy who until about December 22nd or so, when I am finally strapped into my seat aboard an airplane and can’t do anything but crossword puzzles for six hours. But this year, I am filled with this uncanny calm. And, I can’t believe I am actually going to admit this, but I am enjoying the cold weather a little bit (does that have something to do with the fact that being outdoors in the freezing cold flushes my cheeks a healthy shade of red, suggesting I am actually more robust and hale than a parasite-harboring, gluten-sensitive, sinus-infection-prone basket of nerves? Maaaaaaaybe…..) Anywho, I can’t get George Michael’s voice singing “Last Christmas” out of my head. Also? When I’m at the supermarket, I have to resist the urge to buy up the requisite ten pounds of nuts, fifteen pounds of flour, ten pounds of sugar and eight bags of chocolate chips for cookie making. “Not yet, Preciousssssss“, I have to tell myself. “We havesssssss to waitssssss to make the cookiesssssss….”

Another reason to be in a good mood? Eating lefse and looking at carved wooden toys at the Norwegian Heritage Museum’s YuleFest today. Also watching old Norwegians dressed in traditional costumes do a dance on stage. And by “dance”, I mean “move in a slow, moderately coordinated fashion around in a circle making only minimal and utterly platonic contact with dancing partner.” God bless the Scandinavians for making this fair city the civic-minded, egalitarian, sensible-shoe-favoring place that it is. If it were up to my people, we’d all be smashing each other over the head with giant root vegetables and drinking vodka out of soup pots.

Hey, just kidding, motherland! These Swedes ain’t got nothin‘ on ya. Except maybe for their ways with crocheted potholders and sweaters. I mean, have you SEEN these things? It’s like a national freakin‘ treasure, these people’s abilities to turn a skein of yarn into an itchy, bulky utilitarian item! Uffda, indeed!

Seriously, December. Hurry it up. I’m totally over this whole November thing.