For my daughters and grandchildren

I’m here.

I’ve shown up.

This is my second time at a small writing group gathering to learn more about writing ones “Life Story” for their children and grandchildren.

What am I thinking?

What am I doing here?

I’m not a writer.

Who am I kidding?

What is driving me to try this? 

I don’t know!

Maybe I can start small, just a short essay, or another blog post.

If I practice, and practice, and practice, and put in my 10,000 hours, could I really become a writer?  I don’t even have a burning desire to write. But I enjoy recording the stories of my simple life observations.

There’s only one way to find out if I can write and that is to start, and then to stick with it.

My parents were actually told to not expect much from me by my high school English teacher, Mr. Bruce Robertson.  He even cautioned that they shouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t make it to college. More on that another time.

So, the next questions are what to write about? What do I love? 

Nature and solitude.

So I’ll start small and close to home.

My quarter acre retreat.

Morning often finds me taking 10 minutes, with my first cup of coffee, outside, observing my garden. 

You see, I’m a “dolphin”.

Oh, that’s my chronotype. Dolphins are rare. Let me transition here before I barely get started.

The dolphin chronotype describe me to a T. Dolphins have a hard time waking up. Stick with me here, we’ll get back out in the garden in a minute. 

The author of the book The Power of When, Dr. Michael Breus, writes about our chronotypes and recommends that dolphins get exposure to bright light to wake up. If you don’t know your chronotype, I recommend reading the book. You’ll learn more about how you are driven by your innate circadian rhythms. Anyway, this is why I’m in my garden observing nature at its finest.

It is an early fall morning. Not too early, but not mid-morning either.  The sun is rising but still low in the sky and the shadows are long as the morning rays strike my California fuchsia from a low eastern angle backlighting the reddish-orange tubular flowers making them appear iridescent. 

The critters that share my suburban community are already up and busy.

A single hummingbird visits the early sunlit red flowers. But only one hummer at a time. These tiny colorful birds are territorial and don’t like sharing.  Within a short period of time, another swoops in on the one feeding. A high-speed chase ensues. In a flash of color and wings, the two birds are gone. 

A few native bees and honey bees are already visiting the same bush. A honey bee lands on the throat of a flower with open anthers and a sticky stigma. It proceeds to climb, wiggle and pull itself into the flower. It disappears into the tube. If you look now, you’d never know there is a full-size honey bee down the tube. I wait for it. The flower begins to jiggle. I tiny bee butt starts to appear. First the black and white stripes, then two long bent golden legs. Finally, a fuzzy body, more legs, and a fuzzy head slide down the stamens. The bee takes flight to its next receptive flower, seeking its reward of a tiny bit of sweet nectar. Payment will be made in full as the bee leaves a bit of pollen behind to fertilize the flowers eggs deep within the bloom.

In the oak behind me, I hear the repetitive rhythmic call of a chick-a-dee. It is echoed by another off in the distance. The crescendo of birds near and far builds like a tuning orchestra. 

Simultaneously, I hear a rather loud and shrill scrapping sound. I had heard this exact same sound the other day.  When I investigated the source of the grinding and scraping, I found a squirrel sitting on the fence, with a 5-inch section of dry cow bone, like the kind one might buy for their dog. It appeared to be sharpening its teeth on the bone and with each gnawing, this odd bone rattling, tooth grinding sound emanated forth. I startled the squirrel that day and the bone fell into my yard.  How in the world did this small critter get this bone up onto the fence? The grinding commenced again this morning as I took another bite of my frittata.

A moment later, a familiar chase sound begins. I turn to look upward to see two common oak tree visitors. With their bushy tails flickering and tiny paws and toenails grabbing at the oak bark, another friendly backyard critter chase begins. The second critter chase of my morning.  The sound of the squirrels fast moving claws on the bark is almost like the tinkling of gently falling glass shards as the two playfully chase each other. The chase ends as fast as it started with a leap into the neighbor’s palm tree. A quick flutter of fronds, then nothing, just the gently barely perceptible cool morning breeze. 

The warmth of the new dawn on this fall morning begins to evaporate the minuscule amount of morning dew visible on solid surfaces. The dew is only slightly perceptible on the plants with tiny hairs. Native plants survive the long summer dryness in this Mediterranean climate of central California by having tiny leaf surface hairs which are capable of capturing the slightest amount of moisture from the air.

My chickens scratch the ground, rustling through recently fallen oak leaves. These first autumn leaves of the season drift downward to become food for the overwintering soil decomposers. 

There is a clanking sound as a tumbling acorn bounces off a solid surface on it’s way to the ground. The magic of that morning sun which heats up and expands a layer of cells in the stem of the acorn just enough for it to separate from its attachment point on the thin twig.

No signs yet of the blue belly or alligator lizards. Later in the day the butterflies and dragonflies will come to visit. The native chaparral sages will release their fresh scent as the day warms. 

I will remain blissfully ignorant of the billions of soil microbes, bacteria, fungi, and earthworms busy below my feet.

And then, my peaceful morning is interrupted by the squealing and grinding noise of a circular saw cutting a 2×4. My neighbor’s contractor has arrived. Pulled back to the reality of my day, it is time to start tackling the never-ending to-do list. The rising sun has done its job in so many ways. I’m feeling awake and ready to take on the day.

What a blessing to be able to start my day in nature. Eating my breakfast frittata and drinking my morning cup of coffee.

To my daughters and grandchildren: never stop pausing long enough to notice and love nature.

Comments and suggestions welcomed as I begin, continue and travel into and along this storytelling adventure

See the differences?

The cost to eat gluten-free has become a big scam. The only winners are the corporations.

Notice anything different between these two packages? Look at the red dots. Look at the package weights. Compare to wheat version below.

Yep, the count has gone down from a mere 8 to now just 6. This package costs around $6.00. This change happened last month. And the tortillas are even thinner. Do the math, ounces/count.

Compared to standard wheat tortillas, count of 10 for about $2.25. And each tortilla is slightly bigger at a cost of about 22 cents each versus the gluten free version at a cost of about a dollar EACH! Are you kidding me? A difference of 4 to 1. Well, fewer soft rolled burritos in my life, back to scooping the filling with tortilla chips.

So, don’t be offended when you ask for just a taste of my gf cookie or muffin and I say “No!”.

Why would anyone choose to eat gluten free unless it is a medical necessity?

Lacking Compassion

Homelessness

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you and see the light of compassion.

ref=”http://gatoraceae.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/1-1.jpg”> The gentlemen… minus a few.[/ca
I had a rather one-sided conversation the other day with a fellow cyclist. The conversation has been lingering on my mind ever since.  All I could think about during this conversation was how unkind, heartless and lacking in empathy this man was.  There were a handful of other men present and I could tell some of them were uncomfortable with this man’s words (he wasn’t ranting, but close to it), yet, none of us were willing to create a scene and bluntly call this man out on his rhetoric..  

Cyclists on group rides come from all walks of life, careers, educational backgrounds and political leanings.  This diversity can usually make for good, educated discussions on all sorts of topics.

[/caption]This individual stated that “all homeless people are drug addicts and that they chose that life”.  I don’t know how this conversation had started. I had just rejoined the group after filling up my water bottle and others were in getting a ‘Starbucks’. This comment is what made my ears perk up and I started to listen in more on the conversation.

Wow, just wow.  I sort of joined the conversation and I stated that I believed most homeless people ‘probably’ suffered from mental illness or had had unfortunate family life circumstances that had brought them to this point in their lives and that yes, some are now drug addicts. My belief and understanding are that no one “chooses” to become a drug addict.  Often it is a result of ‘said’ unfortunate life circumstances. Drugs are often an escape and there is more often than not, an underlying mental illness.

I think this man honestly believed all homeless people ‘chose that life’ and ‘got what they deserved’.  He said if he was homeless and lived in a homeless gathering in San Jose and another homeless person died, he wouldn’t call the police but he’d bag up the dead guy and dump them in a dumpster.  (I think this conversation started because the group was referring to a recent news story about San Jose homeless.)

Are there seriously people who are this cold-hearted?

This individual “appeared” to be affluent and he griped about all the taxes he has to pay in California.  And what did he get for that?  And he stated that all the states send their homeless to California.  Maybe it’s true that 1/4th the homeless live here. Anyone want to verify that number?  (See link below, I call BS on his comments.)

He also said he wants to move to Tennessee where it would be so much cheaper to retire. He said he’d keep his California home and be okay paying California property taxes.

I asked him what he’d suggest as a solution in regards to the opioid crisis and homelessness? Many of these individuals have had a work injury and ended up getting addicted to the pain meds.  Is this the life they chose? And whose responsible?  The families, the individual, the former employer, the doctors, the pharmaceutical companies?

Of course, he didn’t try to answer but diverted to mentioning how terrible it was that churches in the East Bay were going to build tiny house pods for homeless.  Clearly, he didn’t want this in “his” backyard.  I was preferring to not become a part of this one-sided conversation, but it was really hard to ignore.

I probably prodded with a few more questions, trying to elicit any sign of compassion or empathy.  Never saw any.

I mentioned to this person that I am a “pre-existing” condition, both by being female and by actually having a disease (I did not mention what that disease is).  Couldn’t illicit any indication of surprise or concern on his part.  I thought if he could put a face with a situation, he might show a level of empathy. Please note, I was the also the only female out of 10 riders on this group ride. 

As a married woman, my husband and I made the choice for me to forgo a larger more lucrative career and to work only part-time while choosing to raise a family and to put our children’s upbringing first.  It’s a choice we made, but in reality, for a woman to choose family over career means she will most likely forever be dependent on that man/partner to live a secure life or will most likely lead a life with far greater risk of leading to homelessness and poor health care.  This isn’t a blog post about equality and shared responsibilities, though I can see the connection.  The poor, the unlucky and the mentally ill sometimes need some assistance.  Again, whatever happened to the biblical rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matt. 7:12).  This is commonsense ethics.

I guess for an individual like this man, until it is him, his child or brother or best friend, that suffers a crisis, such as a mental health issue or injury that leads to an opioid addiction, they just can’t see the light of compassion. Or maybe they are so cold-blooded, they would just abandon their family member or friend.

As the following news story link points out, it doesn’t appear like most of these individuals are homeless due to their choice to be drug addicts.  In fact, sounds like a lot of homeless are not drug addicts at all.  I do think the homeless that people see and are aware of, are those who are mentally ill.  These homeless mentally ill individuals are mistaken for being on drugs.  Homelessness is a complex issue with many diverse contributing factors.

https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/06/30/san-jose-huge-surge-in-homeless-silicon-valley-youth/

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you and see the light of compassion.

Government Data Report  Homelessness rates per 100K from US government data.

D. C. = 1,097/100K

New York – 453/100K

California – 342/100K

Note that Oregon is at 341/100K, basically the same as California.

I did not look at every state,  And clearly, if you even glance at the numbers, 1/4th of the homeless in the nation do not live in California.  One also needs to take into account the size of California and the total population relative to the number of homeless.

I think this man has believed a lot of propaganda that he has been fed and seen.

Another factsheet: https://mentalillnesspolicy.org/states/lauraslawindex.html#factsheets

28% of homeless suffer mental illness (General population, mental illness is 6%)

 

Gluten cross contact – who am I fooling?

I try to convince myself that food I don’t prepare is probably safe. Who am I kidding? Only me!

I tell people about ingredients to watch for, things to do to avoid Cross-contamination, so they can “believe” they can “feed” me. But I’m only jeopardizing myself. I do want to believe I’m not getting Cross Contamination. But, I know I am being CC, which really is “Cross-Contact”.

I feel sometimes only slight indications or just off a bit and always try to tell myself “oh, it must be something else.” And NO, it’s not “just in my head.” That’s BS. It’s also what everyone is told until something is figured out. But when have you ever heard anyone ever say after the fact “Oh, I guess it was not really just in your head. Oh, you really were experiencing something.”  Until science catches up with reality of what a Celiac experiences, the general population will continue to doubt us and think it is “all in our head.”

Yes, this gluten restriction is hard, really hard to live with.

Reminded this past week why I hadn’t eaten “out” in 2 1/2 months. It’s definitely like playing Russian roulette, except I lose every single time, no matter what I tell myself.

Here are some answers about CC, cross-contact. And, NO, you can’t destroy gluten by burning it off or heating it. Baking bread doesn’t “kill” gluten. Gluten is a protein (not a type of bacteria) and proteins cannot be “killed off” using heat or disinfecting agents like most bacteria can be. Read more here on where and how CC occurs.

CROSS-CONTACT – beyond celiac

Celiac disease (CD) patients adhering to a gluten-free diet (GFD) are exposed frequently to low levels of gluten that contribute to symptoms and persistent intestinal histologic damage.
Conclusions

These surrogate biomarkers of gluten ingestion indicate that many individuals following a GFD regularly consume sufficient gluten to trigger symptoms and perpetuate intestinal histologic damage. Link to 2018 scientific paper here:

Determination of gluten consumption in celiac disease patients on a gluten-free diet

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Head Injuries

My brothers and I have recently been discussing head injuries. Here’s a modified story that I shared with them.  I thought others might find this story entertaining. I’m fortunate in that I have not experienced significant head trauma, well, at least not that I can remember.

I can only remember hitting my head hard once and that was last summer (2017).  I had my first “real” bike crash.  A bee flew down my jersey.  I screamed and my husband who was in front of me, locked up his new disk brakes.  I clipped the back of the bike trailer and slid out, staying with the bike as they say to do.  As my helmet and head was sliding across the asphalt with my eyes inches from the ground, I actually was thinking, “wow, my helmet is doing its job, I’m not passing out!”

I had lots of road rash, and you could say my bike did too, but my carbon fiber frame was ok.  My helmet was cracked all the way through.  I laid on the asphalt for some time mentally assessing my situation with my legs entangled with my bike and my feet still clipped in.  My husband removed my bike and I continued to lay on the bike trail for a moment and then slowly moved up to assess the damage.
We were 15 miles from home.  We road slowly to a drug store to buy Neosporin, Motrin and bandages.  Then we road home, slowly. Which was probably the best thing I could do for my muscles.
My daughter brought me her race helmet the next day.
I was wearing a fairly high-end Specialized bike helmet.  Now I wear an even higher end race helmet.  I credit my helmet with absorbing the shock and preventing blackout or more.
It is also remarkable that I did not fracture anything, because up to about 2 years ago, any fall or trip and I would fracture.  I credit my celiac diagnosis to my improved bone health which for a woman at my age is truly remarkable.   As I’ve said, I have had more bone fractures then I can remember. Close to one a year.
After the crash, I had some serious contusions, a really swollen knee and a very painful sore area on my ribcage opposite the crash side.  I was told that when a racer impacts at that force a shock wave travels across the chest and can cause pain on the opposite side.  Since it did start to feel better after many days, I did not seek medical attention for a rib fracture which I had by then ruled out.
I healed and got on my bike once again.

Girls CAN too!

I grew up very sheltered and was regretfully fed a message that I was weaker then boys, needed to be protected, fearful of the world and there were things “girls” just didn’t do. I don’t think it was my parents intentions to instill this message but it still happened. It was surely out of love that they protected me. I was the youngest of four and the only daughter. I wasn’t the rebellious type and just went along with it, accepted life as it was and didn’t know any better. It wasn’t till many years later that I began to realize that not all girls were sheltered like me. Some girls got to do what the boys did or whatever they wanted to.

I hope and pray I set my daughters free and encouraged them to believe they can do anything they want. Maybe having the internet at their fingertips is a big advantage. They can see beyond their shelter and can see the bigger picture.

On that note, making up for a LOT of lost time, it’s finally my turn to start trying those forbidden activities. Today I’m building my first model rocket. I maybe a middle aged (late 50’s) woman, but this is something I would have liked to have been encouraged to do when my brothers got to. I spent a lot of time watching my brothers build electronics, build rockets, rebuild car engines, tinker in the family photo darkroom, go rock climbing and backpacking and on ski trips with their buddies. I was never allowed or encouraged to explore the world on my own. Instead, I learned to sew, cook, clean house and garden. Sexist much?

Facebook, Social Media – when is it too much?

I don’t like that even if I don’t have a FB account, FB still gets data about me from all of you who do have FB accounts and from those who have shared their contacts with FB or other apps.

I’m guilty of having shared my contacts at one time or another with one app or another.  So, I’m sorry. Your contact information is out there.

If you are listed in ANYONE’s contacts and they have shared them with apps, then those apps have your name, phone number, email and possibly your address from which they can sell your info and link you to any business you have interacted with and so much more. These companies exist solely to match our phone numbers, email address etc with other data about our online life; from what we buy, search, read, like etc. Not that I feel I have anything to hide, but I don’t want targeted advertising and propaganda. No one is that that good at filtering the fake stuff out.

Also updating this blog so it won’t link back to any of my other social media links.  Time to learn some more.

Subscribe to my blog to get updates. I promise I’m not very prolific. This blog and flickr may become the only places I share my adventure with iPhonography.

2017 Year Of Prisma iPhonography

In 2017 I discovered the Prisma App for iPhonography.  People love the images I’ve created and so do I.  I decided my year of photos in review this year would be 12 images edited with the Prisma App. Enjoy.

Vegetarianism – Veganism – is it a choice?

Vegetarianism – Veganism – is it a choice?

For me, eating gluten free is NOT a choice. It is a medical necessity to LIVE.

The same for some who are dairy free, nut free, avoid shellfish, fish or in some cases eggs,  or soy . IT IS NOT A CHOICE.

FOR SOME, IT IS A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH

So, when someone chooses to be vegetarian or vegan you really piss me off when you make a huge scene demanding your food choice be met.  I’m sorry that a cycling event ran out of the vegetarian sandwiches. Just shows you’ve possibly chosen a healthy lifestyle like many others.  I know you also started the ride an hour late and you arrived at the lunch stop between 1:30 and 2 PM.  Is it really the organizers fault they didn’t have as many options that late? Besides, vegetarian was not even advertised though many events now offer vegetarian, isn’t that nice?

I don’t know you. And now I don’t really want to get to know you. That is maybe my loss. I suppose if I got to know you, maybe I would understand better what was really upsetting you. Was it really the lack of vegetarian sandwiches or is there a much deeper issue in your life and this is your way of asking for help. I probably should have been more compassionate and learned about your life but I was busy coordinating my group for the event.  I did offer you several of my food options from cheese, gluten free tortilla, peanut butter, cashews and two kinds of energy bars – all of which are vegetarian.

However, I bet you could have picked the meat out of those sandwiches that were being served and eat just the veggies, cheese and roll.  I absolutely CAN NOT just discard the roll and eat the filings.  You see, a piece of wheat bread, even the size as one grain of salt is enough to buckle me over, given me an unwanted colon cleanse and lots more, like chills and cramps followed by joint pain and a migraine that may last several days.  And God knows what damage is done to the villi of my gut that can lead to cancers, further bone issues from what I already have and many, many other serious complications of living with an auto-immune disease.

You don’t see me making a fuss at events because SAFE gluten free food options aren’t made available. I still pay the full registration fee like everyone else, even though I know I can’t eat any of the food offerings. If your diet is that restricting then by damn, take care of yourself and bring your own food.  Yes, it sucks to have to plan ahead and live with the anxiety of knowing where I will get enough safe nutritional calories to live.  But, you see, I don’t have a choice.

You don’t see me making a scene, demanding a refund or exceptions be made for me.

You see, I also have volunteered over the years for lots of fundraising events and I know how difficult it is to feed a crowd of a few dozen to hundreds or even thousands. This particular bicycling event had 600 riders.  It is a volunteer bike race team that plans and runs this event.  These cyclists (men and women racers) put on this event to do good in their community.  Profits don’t go to their team, they go to local charities.

They are putting on a fun event for us, the paying guest who receive numerous benefits.  Routes are planned, well marked, donuts and coffee, water, snacks, lunch and dinner are provided to those who can eat them.  The wineries are lined up and provide free tasting. Where else can you taste and compare world renowned wines at over a dozen winery’s for free.

Winery’s often extend event day discounts to us that are even better then their club rates.  The event sponsor (those men and women of the local cycling team), drive around all day during the event keeping us safe, carting our wine purchases from the winery’s to the finish of the ride and they provide sag for those who over estimated their abilities to ride 75 kilometers.

They provide us with a phone contact in case of emergency.  They have sag support vehicles on the course.  Of which you can be glad if you didn’t need them, but it sure is nice knowing they are out there.  My group of 12 was grateful for the sag support as one passed us while we were fixing a flat.  The sag guy stopped, took over and was way faster then us at fixing the flat and even had a top notch floor pump. And then, another of our riders realized he had a flat too.  Before we knew it, this kind cycling team race member, driving sag, repaired the second flat just as fast.  Cheerfully joking and visiting with us the whole time.

I’m sorry your dietary CHOICE wasn’t met.  I’m sorry you didn’t prepare and pack your own energy bar.  I’m sorry you didn’t feel you could purchase a snack for yourself at one of the winery’s.  Most of the winery’s had vegetarian food options available for purchase. I hope you have learned something from this event.

It’s nice to be taken care of, however, I sincerely wish many in this world would accept responsibility for themselves, their actions and words.

People are watching.  What example are you teaching?

I can’t find any research on the medical necessity for one to eat vegetarian.  If you are eating vegetarian for religious, environmental, you believe it’s healthier (research data is mixed on this), animal welfare, I get it.  But, that is your choice.  Again, if eating vegetarian is truly a medical necessity for you, then do what I do, and be responsible for your own dietary needs. (And maybe send me the scientific research showing the link to a medical condition thats treatment is vegetarianism. I’m open to learning.) EDITED: proof of a meat intolerance, learn something new everyday: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha-gal_allergy

I found this quote.  Something to ponder.

“If any animal was hungry enough, it would cast aside any issues and eat you. Hunger must be fed in whatever form is available. If you are in a land hit by drought and the only thing standing in between you and death is a roaming chicken, your survival instinct would say eat the chicken. If you refused and died, that hungry chicken would certainly peck at your corpse.”

BTW if you’ve read this far, you maybe interested to know, I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian for several years, but it was my choice. I CHOSE to be vegetarian in hopes that if would improve my health.  It did not!  I have a neice who is vegan, by choice, and several family members are varing degrees of vegetarians and have been for many, many decdes.. They choose to eat this way do to economics, animal cruelity and environmental reasons.  I respect that and I love to serve them food that meets their WISHES/CHOICES. But to demand and make a scene if I don’t provide them vegan options, that would be just plan rude and disrespectful.

Humans have canine teeth and teeth for cutting and ripping meat.  As a species it appears we are meant to eat meet.  Dairy (besides a mothers milk) and gluten on the other hand, appear to be possibly harmful foods for ALL humans.

Eating out, dining out.

Eating out, dining out.

So what is the allure of eating/dining out so much?  I live in a community that is populated with so many eating establishments that are always busy from the morning coffee shops, the lunch time cafe’s to the evening bars and restaurants. Come evening time, any day of the week, there is a steady line of cars headed downtown. And, they’re not all headed to the grocery stores which are often quite empty at this hour.

It’s not like the food prepared at most of these places is phenomenal or something that is so unique there is no way one could make this on their own.

I get the social aspect, but, frankly, the few times I eat out I find the ambiance actually annoying.  It’s usually too loud, too bright or too dark and the tables are usually kind of sticky gross. I’m not talking about “fast food” joints, but sit down dinner places with moderately high prices.

What am I missing?  The allure of standing around a bar, getting blitzed on over priced alcohol that is often a cheaper version then what I might serve at home and talking about the same shit with friends is lost on me.  Ok, I get that the people watching can be entertaining. But so is bird watching.

So, we ate dinner out last night. It was dear hubby’s birthday and he likes a good beer on tap, so I thought it would be nice to take him to the local brewery.  Fortunately, he said the glass of beer he had was actually quite nice. But the accolades for dinner out probably end there.

Being one with an auto-immune disease and super sensitive to gluten cross contamination I have to be selective about where and what I eat.  This evening was no exception despite my having contacted the brewery recently and their assuring me they could serve me gluten free food.  Hmmm…. well, the menu had a few little “wheat free symbols”: One starter, one veggie dish, two salads (questionable as one had blue cheese and the other is served with croutons), two more main dish salads with ground beef or Atlantic salmon each at about $20, and one main entree, grilled salmon.  Sucks if one doesn’t like salmon or salads. Yikes!

I ordered the garlic brussel sprouts side dish. They were “so so”.  I make better roasted brussel sprouts at home.  First, they weren’t evenly cooked. A bit too crispy on the outside and rock hard on the inside.  I like my brussel sprouts tender on the inside lending to a creamy texture.  These had way too much garlic and no other apparent seasoning.  I had to add table salt. Yuck!

I was pleased to see a “sort of” local hard cider on tap.  I ordered the Two Rivers Strawberry Apple cider. Granted, I’m a cider snob, but the only thing this had going for it was it wasn’t too sweet and it was fresh.  Otherwise, I would say it had a slightly off taste, maybe from some not so ripe apples.  Like the brussel sprouts, the cider too was bland.

I wanted to order the “wheat free” fries which are cooked in a dedicated fryer, but when the waiter comes back with the message from the chef, “if you’re sensitive to cross contamination, he wouldn’t recommend it as being safe”.  Grrr….. why even have gluten free menus?  Ok, but I need to eat more then just bad brussel sprouts if I’m going to consume a cider beverage and not feel it.  I ordered the seasonal veggies.  O M G, talk about boring!  Probably half a small green zucchini and half a small crook neck squash flash sautéed in way too much cheap oil (at least use olive oil folks), with a few strands of not even sweet white onion and again no other seasoning.  Had to add salt.  And then a bite of “what the heck is this”?  It was definitely a dried piece of pulled pork on my seasonal vegetable plate. Gross! Thank God I’m not a vegetarian or vegan.  And, seriously, seasonal vegetables for $8 and the only veggie is the squash that is currently selling for 0.99 cents per POUND at the local market. This is the end of summer when the summer bounty of vegetables is overflowing with goodness and diversity.

I was sort of hoping that I was being brave by venturing into the world of dining out again and maybe I could make this work. Sadly, that wasn’t the conclusion.  What I was reminded of again, is that it’s okay to buy the better cut of meat, the special vegetable I’m craving and maybe a pint of my favorite frozen treat despite their costing a tad more then my usual daily groceries.  Eating out is not cheap, not particularly healthy and frankly, doesn’t taste very good either.  So what’s the allure again?

For now, when I want a special treat and some good people watching time, I’ll still opt for that over priced and probably bitter cup of coffee from the local coffee shop after a serious bike ride.  Yes, for the price of one cup of not so great coffee, I can make myself a weeks worth of perfectly brewed Aeropress coffee at home. But, sometimes it’s nice to have someone else buy the coffee, grind the coffee, prepared it and clean up afterwards.

I’ll still be brave and try to figure out what the allure is of eating out so often.  I’ve chosen to eat out by choice a total of 3 times this year.  (Eating out while traveling is usually just survival and doesn’t count.) Once this year I bought a gluten free pizza to take to another restaurant.  Once we took our daughter to dinner at a 5 star, white linen place (and it was the exception, the food was amazing and the dishes were ones I truly cannot prepare at home (I’ve tried) and the price tag matched.) The third was last night for my husbands birthday dinner.

Ok, I have eaten at a couple of 100% dedicated gluten free bakeries/cafes when traveling and I could find them.  It has been wonderful to eat a “real” sandwich at these places.  They were in Morgan Hill, Sacramento, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara.  I so miss Miglet’s, the dedicated gluten free bakery/shop in my town. Sadly, most 100% gluten free places that I find and then try to return to a few years later have gone out of business.

I’d like to think that someday restaurants will understand food intolerances and want to serve my type of people.  For now, I guess last night was just a good reminder of why I don’t eat out.  Fortunately though, one big positive from last nights meal out is I don’t think I got really sick.  Felt kind of bloated despite eating nothing more then bad vegetables but so far I haven’t had any of the other food intolerance reactions.

Eating Out Statistics

From: https://www.zagat.com/b/the-state-of-american-dining-in-2016

We asked surveyors how many times a week they go out to eat (not counting breakfast) and ended up with a national average of 4.5 times per week. At the high end, Los Angeles surveyors eat out the most frequently (5.2 times per week), while the country’s least frequent diners live in Boston at 3.8 times per week.