Category Archives: life

Celiac Awareness – think before you roll your eyes

Since today is celiac awareness day, I thought I would enlighten people on what it means to be gluten free.  It’s really annoying.  Why?

  1. People roll their eyes and sigh heavily when you order gluten free.  “Oh god, here we go again” is my favorite comment I hear muttered behind my back.  Adding the loud sigh meant to be overheard is icing on the cake.
  2. They assume you’re being a pain in the ass or that you’re entitled to better food than other people.
  3. They assume you’re too sensitive, or have to have things your own way.  I’ve heard “When Harry Met Sally” muttered behind me several times.
  4. Know it all’s who believe they’re losing so much weight and becoming so much healthier because they’re on the gluten free diet.  My favorite part is when they tell me about a disease I have and how they’re giving up gluten is so much harder because they don’t have to, but they choose to.
  5. It’s become a shaming tactic and a joke in movies.

I think the last part is the thing that bugs me the most.  Do you have ANY idea what I would give to have a sausage, egg, and cheese on an everything bagel?  Do you know when the last time I had a decent piece of NY pizza?  Do you have ANY idea what it takes for a carb junkie like me to give up all of this crap?  Think about a guy who used to eat a sleeve of Chips Ahoy or Double Stuff Oreos.  They do have GF alternatives, but they aren’t even close.

So why do it?  Why eat gluten free?  Well, I don’t like throwing up very much, because that’s usually what happens when I eat more than a few crumbs.  Oh yeah, the stomach cramps are fun.  Daggers stabbing you from the inside – dude, try it, it’s so much fun.  And I forgot the best part!!! If all of that wasn’t enough, the hours in the bathroom?  Yeah, I’ll stop there.

Do me a favor.  I know there are ‘those’ people out there who think that they are being so healthy, or trendy, or just think they’re better than everyone else.  I don’t mind them or even bother worrying, you know why?  When my daughter was diagnosed in 2007, there were little to no alternatives for her.  Everything was made with cornmeal and tasted like dirt.  Now, because of the trendiness of the thing, everything is labeled, we can go to restaurants, we can be included.

So before you make fun, or roll your eyes, or do anything to shame someone for having to order differently – think of what it was like for my 8 year old to go out to dinner and have to eat partially cold mac and cheese, or soggy chicken fingers that we had to bring while everyone else at the table was eating fresh, hot food.

A writer writes, right?

Heh, that was punny.

So, if I ever want to write, I need to just shut up and write. So many people, books, articles, and signs all say the same thing – shut up and do it.  How do you prioritize things so that you can accomplish the things you want to, along with the things that you need to?  I have a lot of things I want to do, I’m just inherently lazy – or that’s just the excuse that makes sense for right now.

“Make the time” is the most common response.  So, how do I make it so that there are more than 24 hours in a day?  Seriously though, I’ve read so many articles about successful people and how they have a routine in the morning where they get up early, go to the gym, write/read/organize things for their day, all before 9am.  You know what my routine is?  I wake up at 6am, stumble downstairs to make Gillian’s lunch, go up and shake the two of them out of bed, and then slide back into that delicious warm spot that hasn’t even started to cool yet, and pass out for another two hours.  Not productive, but damn that alarm going off at 8 feels good.

So the question is, what do I want?  Which task is more important?  Ideally, that 6am time is a perfect opportunity for me to do a lot of different things.  I could spend more time with the kids, but in truth, neither of them is super chatty in the morning, so I think all I’d accomplish there is annoy them right before school.  (Yes, I’m one of those morning people).

I could sit down and write for an hour at least, but they don’t leave until close to 7am, and truthfully, with them puttering around and how I’m easily distractable (squirrel!), I know that all I would accomplish is to sit and Facebook until the gray matter in my head turned to jelly, but at least I’d finish that level of Candy Crush (woo!).

Or, I could do what I had originally planned on doing, and have managed to find every excuse not to do – get up, wake the kids up, get Gillian’s lunch made, grab my bags and just leave.  Bring my clothes with me and go to the gym across the street from my office – I know, how simple.  Workout for a bit, take a shower and get dressed, and go to my office where I can write for a while, or even *GASP* develop something (I’m part manager, part database developer).

So what’s stopping me?  My bed has gotten compliments from everyone who has lain down on it (get your minds out of the gutter you sick bastards), and according to everyone I work with – I look exhausted so I feel like I should definitely go back for another two hours, definitely (wapner).  Even on the days I’m not really tired, I get the same reaction from people.  It’s kinda sad actually.

I guess the conclusion is the same as the intro – shut up and do it.

How do you do the things you want to do?

Right place, right time

There are days that I don’t know what to do next there’s so much going on.  There are days that are calm and productive, and days that are exciting and frantic.

I feel like I finally found a job, a boss, and an environment that suits me.  I’ve been so far outside my comfort zone since I started, I have no idea where it is anymore.  I’ve had to do so many different things, be responsible for so many items and people, that there are days where I don’t know which way is up.

And there are days that make me truly thankful that I am where I am right now.  the great thing about this job is that those are most days and I really don’t know if I’ve ever felt that way before.

Disconnect & Reconnect

Every summer for the last 5 years, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to go up to Lake George with my parents, brother & sister’s families, and my two aunts for a week of relaxing and fun.  I realized something really important this year.

One of the things I look forward to most is the point about 5 miles south of the place we stay, my signal cuts out.  And I mean completely.  There’s signal in about a 1 foot square, and it moves randomly around the grounds so that I don’t even bother.  The only thing I use my phone for is to take pictures.  It’s really nice to not be distracted by electronics for a while.  It gives me a chance to interact with all of my family and to reconnect with them in a way I wouldn’t be able to if we were tied to the internet and distracted by facebook, or youtube, or things like that.

I spent 7 days walking everywhere, kayaking, swimming, diving off rocks, not to mention taking the kids all wake boarding and tubing.  We all made dinner, all sat and talked over games and ice cream…it gave me a chance to get reaquainted with the people I care about most in the world.

Do yourself a favor, disconnect and reconnect with your loved ones.  Now is only around for a short time, don’t regret time spent online rather than with the people who matter.


Well, I made it to 45.  Interesting ride so far.  Didn’t think I’d still feel so young, or at least young at heart by this time.  Thinking back on 45 when I was in elementary school, I wondered which brand of wheelchair I’d be in instead of which workout I’m going to do at the gym.

So where am I now, and what have I done?

Been married to my best friend what will be 20 years this New Years Eve, I have a 16 year old son and a 14 yr old daughter that make me proud enough to burst and crazy enough to snap all in the span of 5 minutes.  We live in a nice area of a nice town in central Jersey.  Yeah, as a kid growing up in Long Island making fun of Joisey, never thought I’d end up here, but I really like it.  I even went so far as to not date people from NY and NJ in college because I wanted to marry someone from MD, VA, or south 🙂  So I went to school in Virginia, to meet a girl online in Houston who actually grew up 80 miles from me….in New Jersey.

For those who don’t know, I was at James Madison University in 1993 playing a game on the school computers that was a role playing, text based game based on the Pern novels by Anne McCaffrey.  Back then everything was telnet, Bulletin Boards, and Compuserve. It was all text based, black screen green type, old VAX machine stuff, and yet somehow, before the internet really existed, I made a connection online with a person in Houston who I ended up marrying a few years later.

I learned that I love scuba diving more than any other activity else I’ve ever experienced and yet I still live in NJ where there is next to no diving at all.  I’ve seen colors and fish in the waters around Aruba that still take my breath away thinking back on them.

I have a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and loved teaching it for 3 years.  I’ve studied martial arts for the last 20 years off and on, lately more off, but found that there’s something that connects me to western culture finding real peace when i’m moving through forms or sparring.

I got hit by a 26 foot delivery truck in my car and spun it 180 degrees, then flipped it 3 times travelling from the left shoulder to the right shoulder of a three lane highway and somehow walked away with glass in my hair, a wrecked car, coffee all over me, and what ended up needing minor surgery to fix my elbow.  I’ve had both elbows operated on, I’ve had ‘the good’ skin cancer (13 yrs no issue) and lately I am in better shape because I went paleo and found out that I have celiac disease so now I eat no grains.  I’ve had pneumonia, bronchitis, chicken pox, found out I have tinnitus and skin cancer, and I’m still walking around 🙂

I’ve had good jobs and horrible jobs, worked with great people, and nasty pieces of work, but through it all I’ve thankfully always learned something.  I’ve travelled less than 10 minutes to one place that was 1.5 hours driving each way and into the city which was 2 hours each way, if I was lucky.  The job I’m in now, my manager is fabulous and the prospects at this company are amazing, plus I’m only 15 minutes away.  Now that I’m a manager of a full group of people who are all local (most of my former management exp has been consulting companies), I appreciate some of the hell I put some of my managers through so I believe I’m doing my pennance  🙂

I’ve made mistakes, learned from most of them, wasted a lot of time in certain periods of my life and paid for it in others.  Would I go back and change anything?

Nah.  I like me where I am now.  There have definitely been some rough years in there, but we got through them and I think we’re all better for it.  Am I where I want to be?  No man, I don’t own that island yet that has the huge house on it that I go scuba diving every day, but I’ve corrected the mistakes I’ve made and put myself and the people I love on the right track and see where I need to go and what I need to do to get there.  If I can get off my ass and finish my book, maybe this will be more of a reality 🙂

We’re on this planet for a finite period of time and then who knows what happens.  I won’t say the next 45 years are going to be doing everything on my bucket list, but there’s a quote I like –

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the  intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body,but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming — WOW– What a Ride!”

I don’t see the next 45 years as me being reckless, but I think it’s going to be pretty fun, regardless 🙂