Janet’s patio, February 9, 2010
*chug, chug, chug, chug, CHOO CHOO!*
It’s almost been a month! Today is March 2, 2010, and I last posted on February 4, 2010. *chuckles to self* Not exactly the way to keep a blog, I know. But, I was in the south of France for almost two weeks, from February 8th to 19th, and then February is a short month. So, out of the time that I could have blogged, there have only been 14 days available.
That’s two weeks’ worth of time, huh. Heh.
Okay, what can I say, I am a Lame-o Blogger! *sheepish grin*
Maybe not so much, though.
The previous post, Part Three about Versailles, has still been going strong. Lovely reader Carole left a long and in-depth comment as recently as yesterday and I just replied an entire blog’s worth back there. Traffic and reads on this site have increased threefold as a result of write ups on the blog sites of author Catherine Delors and Elena Maria Vidal. I am so thankful for their exposure of my site, and I am thankful to all who visited and left comments as a result. Because WordPress does such a good job of tracking stats, I have learned that people have been visiting the site because of searches on Marie Antoinette, Versailles, Kirsten Dunst, and other related terms that have picked up my three blogs on my visit to Versailles. Part One of the three has now had 212 views (96 for Part Two and 38 for the third part, which I think was my favorite part to write about. Based on the quality of comments and discussion there, I think you think so, too).
Those posts did kind of wear me out, though, and as I was talking to my best friend Janet about not blogging more, she said something to the effect that it is not easy to hop back on and post after all that work. Anything is going to seem kind of lame by comparison. But, just like the proverbial horse, sooner or later one has to get back on and ride. I’m on the horse.
Also, I have been in a bit of a funk.
Winter in France leaves a lot to be desired, especially for those who were affected by Xynthia, the storm that hit western France so very hard over the weekend. So far, 51 in France alone have lost their lives in the storm, which caused high winds and flooding, wreaking havoc in the Vendée and Charente-Maritime regions. The area is in a state of crisis, as are the places affected by the 8.8 Chilean earthquake, and still-recovering Haiti. It’s a wild world in which we live, isn’t it? I am thankful for warmth and a home with a roof and running water. Count thy blessings, eh? That’s good medicine for a funk.
Parisian weather was not too terrible this weekend, with Saturday showing promise of springtime and warmth, although Sunday was wet with some winds that really need to be called “breezes” in comparison to Xynthia’s fury. Still, we’re not entirely out of winter’s dim grip. This affects my mood a lot.
Next, my fellow blogger whom I really look up to in terms of her writing and her life experiences, Betsy Shaw, put it so very well in her recent post, “Art Without Borders“:
I think the culture shock of leaving behind our home and moving to France has stripped us all of a layer of our skin and exposed us to a level of sensation, sensitivity, awareness and humility that we’ve never experienced before.
I told her in comments that I was probably going to use this sentence from her in a post, and here you go. That’s just IT, that’s the shiznit of descriptions of what being in a new culture is like. On the downside, leaving a home behind in one culture to make a new one in another culture can lead to depression and to a sense that everything is turned inside-out and upside-down. On the upside, it means that by being more sensitive, we perceive more, we feel more, and I would argue, ARE more as a result. I think it is why people through the ages have up and gone someplace else to live — it expands us in ways that can be very good for us, stretching our boundaries of self into expanded territory, in the soul-sense.
I liked what Betsy had to say in her blog, as I like what she writes in all of her blogs, so please, if you have time, add her to your reading list both at Numbmum and her posts at BabyCenter: Babe’s Blog.
So, I have been kind of bumming, feeling both hypersensitive and alternately detached, simply because everything is just *too much* some days and detachment is the only way out and through it all. Those are the kind of days I just cannot write because it would seem too bleak, too wallowing, even for me (I have to do it, even though it is not good writing, but I am chuckling for real, so here goes: LOL).
I guess it is a good sign that I am writing then, eh?
Finally, a last component of the funk has been continued food intolerances and associated problems. I have blogged in-depth about some of my experiences here: “I Am.” Since that time, a few months ago, things have gotten worse insofar as what foods cause me to react. Because I was eating so much chicken and rice in prior months, I have sensitized to them, too. They are off the menu for now. Beans? Problematic. Xanthan Gum = OH MY GAWD! I learned at Janet’s that the food additive to give non-gluten flours a bit of smoothness and spring, xanthan gum, makes me really sick. Terrible bloating, tummy cramps, and diarrhea sick. Ugh. Grains of all kinds, even the non-gluten ones, are off the menu, too, because of continued disturbances in my bod with their ingestion.
In case at this point you are wondering, “Why does this happen?”, there is a really succinct article here: Food Sensitivities at WH Foods. The book Food Allergies and Food Intolerance: The Complete Guide to Their Identification and Treatment by Jonathan Brostoff, M.D. (here at Amazon) is a book detailing some of the currently-known mechanisms behind food intolerance and what to do about it.
There is conservative mainstream medicine, there is alternative medicine, and there is fringe medicine. Food intolerances are most accepted by cutting-edge alternative medical practices (in traditional and alternative medical settings) and fringe medicine, and to a very slowly-growing extent in conservative mainstream medicine, too. I have not been checked out by a traditional medical doctor in almost two years, I don’t have access currently to traditional medical care (I am under a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy with the reasons for that right now), and so everything I am experiencing is self-diagnosed based on my past medical history and my current symptoms. So the HOW and the WHY this is all going on is what I have pieced together with a lot of reading and research and self-experimentation over the past year. It’s not easy to do this on one’s own.
I have been eating a modified diet for just over 11 months now. Totally gluten-free since the beginning, I have now progressed to eliminate the following for the present time:
- all diary/sources of casein
- peanuts (and a drastic reduction of other legumes — meaning: no more that a serving once or twice a week)
- nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers – sweet and hot)
- grains and most grain substitutes (in addition to the gluten grains: wheat, rye, barley, and oats, such as rice, millet, quinoa. I have been trying buckwheat at low quantities)
- limiting foods that are high in oxalates (see a sample list here)
- limiting foods that are high in sugars, including the elimination of refined sugars and the limitation of fruits high in naturally-occurring sugars
Janet drew my attention to this list of 14 foods that are to be avoided if you have a chronic immune disorder by Kenneth D. Fine, M.D. They match my experience of what foods cause me the biggest problems with my health (which I outlined in that previous post of mine entitled “I Am” ). There is other helpful and explanatory information in his presentation at the link there.
Okay, so pretty much I am guessing you can deduce that my relationship with food right now is a bad one. I am highly discouraged at the moment with the whole situation, there is nothing much I can do except try to eat what I can that is not on the list up there, and cross my fingers that whatever is going on with my immune system being overactive in regards to food quiets down. Soon.
I am feeling I am at a bit of an impasse right now. (Do you remember this scene from The Princess Bride? Hahahahaha! I love that scene. Wallace Shawn is so great!!)
As a result, I am frustrated to the point of pretty much not eating. Just for a couple of days, just until I can get my head around a game plan of what to do next, which is probably suck it up and keep eating the bland fish fillets and veggies I have been eating the past three weeks or so. But at the moment I have entered a hunger-strike against life and my body as I am sick of the whole business. I am still eating some raisins, currents, dates, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and have been eating a few cashews (which I am pretty sure are giving me stomach cramps and diarrhea, still, ugh, unless, of course, it is the high-fiber raisins, *sheesh*), so no worries that I will starve to death.
I’m gathering my wits is all, until I know what to do. I feel like if I can get into a more neutral place in my head with all of this, I will be more clear in following my intuition, something that has been critical for me to do in this whole process.
So it goes.
There is the tale of why I have not blogged much in the past month. I hope that March will be better. I have photos of Antibes here at Flickr (they are not yet very well-captioned, though) and I posted a couple of videos of the snow I experienced in Antibes at YouTube, if you want to hear my narration of snow falling down in the south of France, haha. That might keep you all busy until I can get my act together enough again to write something here.
Hope you are all well, and until next time, I am,
your alien parisienne