Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The World's Worst Cat Litter

I am fed up with my cat litter.

Remember the World's Best Cat Litter and how amazing it was when I first tried it out?

Yeah, not so much anymore.

Somewhere between falling in love with this litter and Percy developing the habit of digging in his litter box, flinging litter everywhere, I realized that I actually hate this World's Best Cat Litter, and it's not the world's best anything.

In the last few months I've become increasingly annoyed with small tan colored granules scattered all over my floors and furniture, and even in places that are nowhere near the litter boxes.  

Like the toilet.

I find myself going to the bathroom, reaching down to lift the toilet lid, and realizing there is litter scattered across it.

The bathtub has also been collecting litter granules, but that's because Percy enjoys sleeping in the tub in ninety degree weather. 

I step in piles of litter constantly because the cats track them across the tile floors, and I have even started picking it out of the carpets.

This is just the nature of litter. Any litter one uses for their cats will get tracked all over the house unless one uses litter mats. I cannot use litter mats because Willow pees on them rather than dragging her ass into the box. It must just be easier to squat on the floor outside the litter box, but she won't do it on the bare floor. She'll pee on the carpet, the litter mats, newspaper, but if the floor is bare she will actually make the effort to get into the box and do her business there.

Go figure.

Litter tracking and piles getting kicked out of the box by Percy are annoying enough, but as the months passed I realized that my house always smelled like a feed store. At first I thought it was the pet food sitting out. I'd walk out of my bedroom (where scented candles are usually lit), and suddenly notice, in the absence of Hawaiian/floral/coconut scent, that my house had this musty, almost stable smell. It didn't smell like animals had been peeing or pooping around, yet it definitely smelled like animals live in my house. I'd get the same whiff when I'd come home from work or go inside after being outside for an hour, watering my plants.

It drove me nuts.

Everyday I'd sniff around trying to figure out, why the hell does my house smell like a barn? 

One day it hit me. It smelled like chicken feed. California Guy raises chickens so I'd been getting a whiff of chicken feed most weekends, and my house smelled like it had containers full of it.

Turns out it did. I had four litter boxes filled to the brim with the Worlds' Best Cat Litter which is made of corn. It says right on the bag - made of corn. I literally had four containers set strategically around the house full of corn which is essentially what all barnyard animals are fed.

No wonder my house smelled like a feed store. 

The bag says "Unscented."  Yeah, sure. Unscented as far as no added smells, but there is no way to mask that corn feed smell. 

The bag also says clumping, flushable, super absorbent, 99% dust free. That's a lot of crap too. Dust free? My ass. I was constantly sneezing with that shit lying around (and it was lying around EVERYWHERE in my house). Super absorbent maybe, but clumping? No way. 

Well, it may not be the litter's fault it doesn't clump at my house. My cats pee, create a clump, and then scratch and scratch until they've pulverized the clumps and scraped all the litter into a big mound in one corner of the box.

The litter is definitely flushable, but my cats shit and pee so much I'd be flushing all day long, and my water bill would be through the roof. It's also a serious waste of water in a climate that is dry.

Having had enough of this garbage (since I was sneezing myself off the couch and getting tired of living in a barn), I decided to go litter shopping AGAIN. I won't go back to clay litter because I still would like to be somewhat environmentally responsible. I looked at some crystal litter which is supposed to be super absorbent as well and dust free. The litter looked like it might be too sharp and painful on precious kitty's paws, and since I have finally gotten Willow to use the litter box again and stop peeing on the floor, I don't want anything to encourage litter box aversion.

I ended up picking up a bag of Blue Buffalo's BLUE Naturally Fresh Multi-Cat Litter made of walnut shells.

I suppose if my house is going to smell of food, I'd rather it have a pleasant faint nutty aroma.

Besides, walnut shells might be a bit brilliant.  I mean what do you do with the shells after you've devoured the walnuts? Make little turtles out of them (half a walnut shell does look a little like a turtle shell)? And even then there's only so many turtles you can make.

I mixed half the walnut litter with half the corn litter and already noticed a large decrease in feed store smell in my house, though I did detect that pleasant faint nutty aroma. I was worried the cats would protest, but they all hopped right in one after another and did their business without a care in the world.

To be fair this litter tracks just as badly as the corn stuff. Now instead of tan granules strewn everywhere, I have dark chocolate brown crumbs everywhere. It does clump, maybe better than the other stuff, but my cats still have their scratch fests, so some of clumps still disintegrate. Maybe not as much, though. The worst part about this litter is that it's so dark. If not for the clumps and the poop shaped piles, I wouldn't be able to figure out what to scoop to clean it out.

So far it doesn't smell and the cats seem fine with it. I'm lucky my cats aren't such divas that every time I change the litter they go into a royal hissy fit. Some cats are so high maintenance about their litter boxes that changing the litter takes two months and excessive drama. It causes pouting and litter box aversion. My cats might be divas about everything else, but as long as there is a litter box for them to poop in, they're fine with whatever is in it.

I know this because in the time I've owned these cats I've gone from wood pellets to newspaper pellets to the World's Best (Worst) Cat Litter to this walnut business.

If this shit doesn't work out we will be trying yet another litter.

Eventually everyone will get rousted outside to a designated sandbox, and they can poop in that.

Another reason to move to the beach.

Can you imagine if humans had this problem with their toilets? All I need in my toilet bowl is water and bleach. It doesn't make my house stink, it's easy to clean, and I don't track what's in the toilet all over the house.

At least I hope I don't.

Who knew going to the bathroom was so dramatic? 

It's too soon to tell the verdict on the walnut litter. I have hopes, and I am happy that at least the feed store smell in my house has been solved, but I do still have my reservations about the walnut stuff.

I'm just not sure what I'll try next if this stuff doesn't work out.

The new stuff

In a shameless plug, please check out this book on sale August 8 for my published story about Puckett.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

"It's a Service Dog!"

At the risk of backlash and sounding like an asshole, I'm going to take a stand and say this service dog business is getting entirely out of hand.

Don't get me wrong.  Service dogs are necessary.  Service dogs do a specific job for their handlers and should be allowed in all places of business so that the person in need of assistance can live as normal a life as possible.  I am not against service dogs in any way shape or form. They are essential.

According to the American Disabilities Act, "Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA."

That bears repeating:  "Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA."  Also, a service dog is not a pet.

Often I think it's more the poor dog that needs comfort or emotional support, but that's another story.

The problem is it's not always obvious if a dog is actually a service dog or just a comfort animal used for emotional support. 

At least once a week someone comes into my place of business with their dog claiming "service dog."  We are limited to two questions: Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability and what work or task has the dog been trained to perform?  We are not allowed to ask about the person's disability, medical history (of course not, and that's completely fine), certification or identification for the dog, or request a demonstration of the dog's tasks.  If people answer these questions correctly they can keep the dog in the building until the dog either pees on the floor (which has happened), barks incessantly and annoyingly (which has happened), or is left somewhere in the building without it's handler. Under the law, a service dog must be under control of its handler.  Also if someone comes in with their "service dog" and then another person leaves with said dog, that is also grounds for being banned. Service dogs are not shared even though the owner tried to convince us otherwise and also threatened to sue. I had another lady come in with her Chihuahua or whatever it was, bundled in her coat. I politely told her we don't allow dogs and she said it was a service dog for her husband who broke his back. I dropped the matter at the time, but my question is, if the dog is a service dog for the husband and his broken back, why was she carrying it into the building and where was he?

That Chihuahua did not look happy being carted around in a coat either. It was shaking and staring at me with these huge eyes like it was begging someone to rescue it.

Eventually one of these dogs is going to get completely out of control and bite someone, and then it's off to the pound and euthanasia for that dog, which is incredibly sad and unnecessary (and could very well be prevented).

This seems to be happening in grocery stores, restaurants, and local shops as well, and probably doctor's offices and hospitals. I can't seem to go anywhere lately without seeing a parade of canines marching by.  And sure, people use the excuse that you never truly know if a dog is actually performing a task for a person with a disability as not all disabilities can be seen.  But a dog that's yelping and bouncing around and peeing itself out of the sheer excitement of being somewhere other than home is probably not a service dog. 

These are the dogs I have a problem with and these are the dogs I see popping up everywhere I go.

I have no problem with service dogs, but people who can't seem to leave the house without their dog, and then abuse the rather vague and convoluted law regarding service animals just so they don't have to leave precious at home, that does bother me.  Not only is the law vague and convoluted, it's also extremely easy to go online and order a little coat and certification for an animal, with no training required.  Most of the time this is detrimental to the dog.  These dogs are not well behaved or trained for the specific purpose of navigating social situations in order to benefit someone in need.  These dogs are often just being dragged all over God's green earth because their owners are so attached to them or else need emotional support for anxiety that it's making the dogs anxious.

 Let's face it, most people don't spend a lot of time training their dogs or working with their behavior issues to be able to take them out in all manner of social settings.  My dog included.  I know her limitations. If someone brings a dog into a place of business claiming service dog, and then it pees on the floor, growls at a child, and jumps up on furniture, scratching around, then it's pretty obvious that dog is not a service dog.  A service dog is trained to behave impeccably under the most stressful of situations. Sure accidents happen, but they are rare in service dogs (and also the law does allow businesses to ask even service dogs to leave the premises if they become disruptive or destructive).

My dog, for example, could never be a therapy dog or a service dog.  She might be a German shepherd, but she does not have the temperament for that kind of work.  Police work or drug sniffer would be more geared towards her talents and capabilities.  If I dragged Tess everywhere including restaurants and grocery stores claiming her as a service dog, she'd have such sensory overload from all the activity, sights, and smells, that SHE would be the one with anxiety and I'd have to get HER a comfort animal.

I have anxiety too. I can get some pretty bad panic attacks. There was one I remember quite well when I was at a writers conference in New York City. Talk about sensory overload, but I can tell you right now that Tess would have been zero help as a therapy animal and zero comfort. She would have been ten times worse, only fueling my anxiety into higher levels.

I have anxiety just taking that beast into the car with me.

The message these so-called "service dog" handlers are sending the rest of us seems to be "It's all about me, so tough." They abuse the law because only their needs, wants, and wishes are important.  It doesn't matter if their dog is causing someone problems, they want the dog with them so therefore they will do whatever it takes to make that happen. And if someone dares challenge it, they threaten to sue.

It's the American way.

Meanwhile it's extremely insulting for people who actually have real, trained service dogs. And the general population is getting hostile towards service dogs because of the abuse, and that is extremely unfair to the people with actual service dogs. And I've found those people usually have no problem presenting proof and certification for their dogs, and will hand it over voluntarily even though they don't have to.

Another interesting thing I've noticed is most of these so-called "service dog" handlers are way too chipper and happy about letting any Tom, Dick or Harriet come up, coo to, and pet their dogs.  People with actual service dogs can be quite curt about telling people to NOT touch their dogs or even pay attention to them because the animal is WORKING.  I don't bother service dogs that are out and about, doing their job.  I have, however, been accosted many times by a "service dog" as it thew itself at my leg and tried to jump up on me, licking. 

God help us, the ADA has now also revised the law to allow service miniature horses that are trained specifically to help those with disabilities.  This is great for people who actually need one, as horses are very intelligent and rather fun animals to have.  The little ones are especially fun and cute, but here in horse country it's only a matter of time before some lunatic decides they need to bring their pet miniature horse wherever they go, claiming "service horse," and flinging fake paperwork around acquired from the Internet.  Service animals must be housebroken.  A faux service horse can quite possibly leave enough droppings in a business as to bring the public health inspector down on its head.

Thank God it's only dogs and horses right now.  I doubt service crocodiles will ever be a thing, but I dread the day someone comes in claiming a service cat (I read somewhere that someone trains Savannah cats for this?) or service ferret or, God forbid, service tarantula.  And I wouldn't put it past some idiot to try and sneak in their "service mountain lion" or "service wolf." 

"What work or task has your tarantula been trained to perform?"

"Scare the shit out of anyone who comes near me and causes anxiety."

Honestly, places of business will soon just be glorified dog parks.  I feel sorry for the cat people.

These two are definitely not service animal material.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


What is it about weddings that make otherwise perfectly rational human beings (and also completely irrational human beings) lose their minds?

Slate's Dear Prudence posted a letter one week with the most God-Awful bridezilla I have heard about to date (second letter after the "Dirty Talk Husband.")

Now, granted, I've read a lot of bridezilla-type letters on Dear Prudence because I've been a Dear Prudence fan from the Emily Yoffe days, but this one especially took the cake.

I kind of hope it was a fake letter.

I kind of hope it wasn't.

I mean, do people like this actually exist?

In this particular letter, the letter writer wrote that she had been shamed, admonished, and ridiculed by a bride whose wedding she attended, accidentally wearing a dress in the same shade of blue as the wedding party.

Horror upon horrors.

It really is just the end of the world when some upstart has the nerve to wear a bride's colors when she hasn't been formally invited to join the wedding party.  It's on par with the world ending by Mordor exploding.

I honestly had no idea what "wedding colors" even were until I was sitting around with some random girls one day, discussing their wedding days and what their "colors" would be.

I asked if any of them had boyfriends yet and they all looked at me like they wanted what I was smoking and said of course not, they were discussing their FUTURE weddings.

Oh, I see.

I have never been that little girl who envisioned her wedding day from the moment she turned four and watched Cinderella walk down the aisle with Prince Charming.  My favorite Disney movie was Dumbo.  I liked his big ears, and possibly the fact that he was ostracized by his peers for something he had absolutely no control over.

Something I relate to.

I hate weddings.  Other than absolutely loving the movie 27 Dresses (which has more to do with loving Katherine Heigl, James Marsden, and the fact that I watched it with one of my dear friends and ex-coworkers who I severely miss even though I am thrilled for her and her life choices), I think weddings are stupid.  And as we move into wedding season, I'm here to tell you, I dread it with the fiery passion of a thousand Hells.

I believe the precedent of weddings (and I have zero proof to back this up) was back in the day, when everyone lived in small communities and worked their asses off just to get food produced, harvested, cooked, and on the table, there was very little time for leisure. So the villagers wanted to party whenever they got the chance. Key celebrations like weddings. Back then it was happy when two people found love and it was an excuse to party. Back then people wanted to go to the wedding because they wanted an excuse to party. The wedding was the big party of the year or the social event of the season and people were thrilled to go. The couple was also extremely grateful to everyone wanting to share in their happiness.

Nowadays we no longer need excuses to party; we party whenever we want. We don't get all excited and happy about young lovers falling in love; they will fall out of love within three to five years. Couples are no longer humble and grateful; they are entitled (it's "My Day!" or in some cases, "My Week!" or "My YEAR!").

Weddings are no longer a fun party for the entire town to celebrate, they are an obligation and a burden that infringe on other people's time, money, and goodwill.

I come from a small family so I wasn't invited to a lot of weddings (thank the Lord and Savior), but I have been to a few, and part of me feels I could have done without.  There is always drama at a wedding.  Even if the bride is not Bridezilla, there is always some asshole who is slighted by the fact that the day is about someone else and how dare they.  I've been a bridesmaid enough now that my closet is packed with dresses I will never wear again, and now that I'm gluten intolerant I can't even go to these things just for the cake.

The nicest thing anyone ever did for me was the aforementioned friend and coworker who apologetically told me that she had no room to invite me to her wedding because her groom's family took up ninety of the 100 seats available in the church.  I said I was thrilled for her and not hurt at all. She said she assumed so, but she still felt bad for leaving me out.  I threw her a bachelorette party and we moved on with our lives.

It has never occurred to me to be offended NOT to be invited to a wedding.  But there are those who are.

I missed my brother's wedding unfortunately because the wedding got moved to three weeks after I returned from a pre-planned trip to Texas and there was no way I could get more time off, because my boss at the time was a harpy.  I would have liked to have been there, but life got in the way.

When my best friend got married, I had a blast. But as in any wedding, someone had to go and make drama and it wasn't even anyone she cared for.  Her brother in law was dating a gal who was a pill at every turn, and she was seriously offended and miffed that I as the maid of honor was to walk down the aisle with her boyfriend, the best man.  She thought she should have been the maid of honor because it would be "appropriate."  My best friend privately told me that it would be a cold day in hell when she would have asked that chit to be her maid of honor, but that didn't stop the drama queen from sulking, throwing a fit, and making the reception utterly miserable for her boyfriend the whole night long.

Incidentally her brother in law is now married to someone much nicer.  Good thing his ex hadn't been allowed to mess up the pictures.

Other things that went wrong: the church my friend and her husband were married in treated them horrifically.  Among other slights, they told them they could dance for the wedding and four days before the wedding, changed their minds and said dancing was forbidden in their church, something they could have mentioned months ago so that my friend go find a new venue.

My friend sent an extremely scathing letter to the church after the honeymoon.  She is a great talent at scathing letters.

My college roommate had a lovely Catholic wedding except for her maid of honor who emailed all the wedding party weeks before, demanding fifty dollars from each of us to go in for "the gift."  I declined, preferring to bring my own gift and was still solicited for the fifty dollars because I guess I had no choice.  The maid of honor in question then made such of a pill and bitch of herself at the reception that one of the groomsmen finally turned around at the bridal table and demanded to know why she always had to be such a bitch.

That did not go over well and started a small fight.

After the wedding I got yet another email demanding the fifty dollars I owed her.  There were ten people in the wedding party and enough money had been contributed to total five hundred dollars.  I think the bridal couple only saw about two hundred.  Hmmmmmm.

Another wedding I attended was okay except that I learned after the fact that several of the brides' cousins had been mean and condescending to one of the bridesmaids and a friend of mine, had bossed my escort and boyfriend at the time around like it was his job to follow orders when he had been kind enough to fill in as usher, and had generally had such big mouths that my ex-boyfriend had dragged me slightly drunk and exhausted beyond belief from the reception to cover two hundred miles home in order to get enough distance between us and the harpies in question as possible.

My other best friend got married in Vegas.  Her sister and husband caused enough drama to last all of us a lifetime and I wonder how she managed to go through with the wedding without burying both of them in the desert somewhere instead. And as her best friend it would have been my duty to not question why, but grab a shovel and ask where I should start digging.

The weddings I've been involved in, the brides have been absolutely lovely.  Not a single issue or bitchy moment.  It seems though that in the lack of a Bridezilla there ends up being a Bridesmaidzilla, or a Guestzilla, or a Family-Memberzilla, or even a Groomzilla (in the case of my childhood friend and her first wedding - thank God she has a much nicer husband and life now). Weddings demand drama.  They yearn for it.  They thrive on it. This is why we have shows like Bridezillas and Say Yes to the Dress.  I don't think a wedding can happen without someone losing their marbles to the point where they need to either be slapped back into reality or committed involuntarily to the funny farm. Even my mother's wedding was drama.  She wanted her best friend as her one attendant, but my grandmother made such a fuss about everything and threw such a fit that my parents attendants were chosen for them, as well, as many other things about the wedding.  It was one day so my mom didn't care too much, but she's told me before that she'd have preferred the wedding SHE wanted because after all, she was the one getting married.

I have been invited to a wedding this summer.  Probably my last as I'm getting older and most of my friends are happily (or not so happily) settled down, at least for now.  After this one, I'm the last one, as I have never been married.

I have never wanted a wedding.  Sure, there is a part of me that wants to wear that beautiful white dress, drink champagne, dance and laugh and eat cake (ah, yes, the cake).  But let's be real.  I have a very small family and few friends left, especially close by.  No one will come to my wedding, as everyone has moved on with their lives and nobody has time, energy, or money to travel just to see me walk down the aisle with someone.  It suits me just fine really, as if life and fate have worked together to ensure that I get what I may not know I want.  Girls are trained to want a wedding, to demand it, to expect it.  I think it might be best if I run away and elope, wear that dress just because I can, and party on the beach until two in the morning with strangers.  I don't like drama, I don't like weddings, I don't like party planning, and I don't like drunken fiascos.  I do like to dance, I do like spontaneity,  I do like wine, and I do like California Guy.

That's probably all I need at my wedding.

I've decided to get married looking like a big cupcake. What do you think?

I want to fly like an eagle.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

It's the End of the World as We Know It

My body has forsaken me.

Not only do I have codependent pets, I now have some kind of weird codependent creature living in my stomach causing all kinds of problems.

I have an overgrowth Candida. I don't understand it completely, but it basically means I have an imbalance of gut flora and my internal bacteria is out of whack.

If the tummy ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. I have brain fog, chronic fatigue, irritability, emotional issues, weight gain, skin issues, and God knows what else. Stuff I thought was caused by a hormone imbalance, and they were ten years ago, but my hormones have been balanced for couple of years, so this was just some new crap.

I'm not a doctor or a scientist, so all I was really interested in after I got my test results was what is the bottom line? How can I cure this and how long will it take?

My doctor, bless her heart, said as soon as she saw my test results and saw the imbalance of gut flora signalling Candida in my stomach she knew I was going to be mad at her and she was dreading our phone consultation.

Here's what that means: You know those annoying pretentious people on a special diet who refuse to touch sugar, wheat, MSG, and anything else yummy?

I am now one of those people. Not because I refuse to touch these things, but because it is recommended that I don't in order to heal the issue in my stomach.

I looked over the list of food I can eat and then the list I can't eat and had a breakdown. Overgrowth of Candida is basically like a yeast infection, which doesn't surprise me because I've had problems with overgrowth of yeast all my life (I'll spare you the dirty details). Sugar, yeast, fermented foods all feed it.

My four favorite things are chocolate, coffee, wine, and cheese.

They are all off the menu.

You know what I hate? Cauliflower. It is absolutely on the menu.

Also banned: All dairy but plain Greek yogurt, corn, rice (a gluten free person's staples – no more popcorn for me) and fruit, God help me. No pineapple, no peaches, no muskmelon (I'm growing and nurturing four muskmelon plants in my garden, Goddamnit!) and no watermelon. These are a few of my favorite things.

I can, however, have berries. And avocados.

Fuck me running. Uphill. Backwards. With a spoon.

I used to judge those people who are all, “Oh, I can't eat sugar, it's bad for me. And I don't drink, because well, alcohol is THE DEVIL.”

The other day I went shopping for my new diet. My cart was full of beets, carrots, bell peppers in all colors, avocado, celery, nuts (almonds and walnuts, cashews are off limits), and stevia.

I have never in my life wanted to even entertain the idea of using stevia. I'm a sugar girl. I'm not one of those people who is all, “Oh, I use STEVIA because sugar is sooooooo bad for you.”

People were looking at me in the grocery store like, “What the hell, girl. Eat a fucking sandwich.” Even the checkout girl plucked each piece of my fresh produce off the conveyor belt, regarded it with a rather raised eyebrow, and then pushed it down to the lady bagger, almost with a gesture of disgust, like, “This girl needs to freaking get over herself. I mean, what the hell.”

I couldn't blame her for her judging me. I was judging me.

Earlier that day I went to the health store and managed to find crackers made with stuff that is actually on my diet plan and pasta made of pea flour and buckwheat flour. At least there I didn't feel judged because the health food store is filled with other annoying pretentious people who are on a special diet, gingerly picking through the “unhealthy” food with wrinkled nose and curled lip.

People like me minus the wrinkled nose and curled lip. I'm the one drooling over the organic potato chips and chocolate bars.

This is what I've been reduced to. Leafy greens, root vegetables, no fruit, no sugar, no caffeine.

No wine.

I asked my doctor how I was supposed to get through eight weeks without chocolate. Yes, I'm such a baby, this diet lasts eight weeks and I'm whining and crying like my life is over. My doctor did tentatively suggest that I could probably get away with that 72% or 85% cacao Ghiradelli dark chocolate bars because there isn't a lot of sugar. I can also make truffles with cocoa and stevia or whatever.

Oooh, yay. Stevia truffles!

Do you know how I make truffles? With whipping cream and high quality bittersweet chocolate. Also, brandy.

Dairy and alcohol are off limits for me. The chocolate chips I use are only 60% cacao so not as good as they should be. They still have a lot of sugar. And besides, I love milk chocolate. I will eat dark chocolate if that's all there is and I have no other choice. But I LOOOOOOVE milk chocolate. Preferably Dove milk chocolate with peanut butter or caramel filling (mmmmmmm). Then there's the Frey milk chocolate from Switzerland that is better than sex fashioned into these cigar shaped sticks with a praline filling and hazelnuts.

I hate my life.

So I took all of my lovely fun groceries home intent on making a yummy dinner that would make me forget that I can't eat cheese.

Did I mention I've never purchased a beet in my life? I don't even know what to do with a beet.

I chopped the beets and yam into discs to bake and pan fried some chicken thighs in olive oil (no butter for me!) with ginger, garlic, anise stars, thyme and basil from my garden, and rock salt.

I caved and had a glass of wine with it. Hey, it's my first day on this shit and small steps, right?

The chicken turned out really good, but that's because I discovered I love the taste of anise. I also love the taste of basil and thyme.

The beets and yams? Well, they can use some work. The main problem was that I had more beet and yam discs on my baking stone than there was baking stone so they didn't bake as well as they could have.

The question is, why am I doing this to myself? Well, I'm tired of the bloating, the chronic fatigue, the depression, the complete lack of desire to exercise or really do anything. Brain fog is not a good thing to have when one catalogs books all day long (it's a very precise job), and also when one wants to write for a living. I have no energy and no drive. And that is not like me, has never been like me. When I adopted my dog I walked her three hours a day. Now the thought of walking five minutes makes me want to go take a nap. The dog wants to take a nap too, but that's because she's older and she picks up on my mood.

I've got to be the most boring human on the face of the planet and it's not even by choice. I used to go out dancing every Friday night. Now, the thought of being out of the house past ten o'clock sounds like a punishment.

All I know is that I'm going on vacation in a week to visit my parents and there is no way I will be able to stick to this ridiculously rigorous diet at their house. They have Swiss cheese, Swiss chocolate, fancy coffee, and expensive wine in abundance. I am my parents' daughter as I inherited my taste for these things in spades. At least at my house I can throw out all temptations (except the wine bottles, there is no way I'm throwing out my wine collection), but at my parents' house?

Forget it.

The diet begins the day after I return home from my parents' house.

That's also when my life ends.

I'm such a drama queen.

But hey, I have to give up sugar and wine. I feel like I have a right to be a bitch.

Guess that jackass who wrote The Gluten Lie was full of it. Sure, in his perfect little world he can eat wheat, sugar, and MSG in moderation. But when you have codependent Candida, you don't get that luxury.

That damn bacteria must have been talking to Percy. Can't eat unless I'm right there.

Sigh...good bye, wine.