I have a food allergy .................

.......... and I have no idea what exactly I am allergic to - just yet :-(

I broke out in a very interesting but unattractive and itchy rash right after lunch today. I immediately called my doctor, was told to take some Benadryl (which I happened to have) and to come into the office this afternoon. She quizzed me in great detail about what I had eaten, whether I had ever eaten any of those things before and then sent me off to the lab for some blood work to be tested for MSG, chocolate and peanut allergies. I very much doubt I'm allergic to the last two. I eat peanuts all the time and have never had a problem. Chocolate I usually stay away from (fibrocystic condition) because it makes me hurt but I've never broken out in a rash from it before. But MSG is a possibility. Yes, I had Chinese food (and, no, it doesn't say "No MSG" on the menu). BUT, I have that often and have eaten at the same place quite a few times and have never had a problem. Although, the soup I had both last night and for lunch today was a slightly different variation of the soups I've had before. So, I am not allowed to eat the remaining leftover Chinese food for dinner (and I have no idea what to have instead) and have to wait for the results of the lab test. That'll be a while because my doctor is going on vacation. Should the results be negative, I'll have to see an allergy specialist for more tests.
Until then, I'm almost afraid to eat anything :-(


The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

This isn't going to turn into a book review blog - I promise. And this is the last "serious" book I'll be reading for a while, I need something a bit lighter now.

I finished this book a couple of days ago and found quite a few things I could relate to. Joan Didion described the year following her husband's unexpected death from a heart attack. In addition to this loss, she also had to deal with a seriously ill daughter who spent months in hospitals (the daughter survived).
There are things she writes about that I can relate to very much.
She talks about the grief coming in waves. Yes, I've noticed that.
She writes about expecting for a long time that the deceased will come back. That's why she doesn't give away all his shoes - after all, her husband will need them when he comes back. Funny, for the longest time - and I still do at times - I thought that if I just do the right thing(s), Henry will come back (or, at least, this nightmare will be over). I know better, I kissed him goodbye, both in the hospital and at the funeral home, but still ........... that thought is very much there in the back of the mind.
And she talks about the state of shock so many of us go into. It looks as if we're totally accepting our loss because we are so calm and do all the things we have to do. But it's not acceptance or "normal grief" - it's shock. She almost asked to attend her husband's autopsy.
She writes so calmly about everything that happened to her daughter, her medical knowledge is quite impressive.
She writes about the changes she has made - always leaving a light on in the apartment at night - just to be on the safe side - switching from sandals to sneakers so she won't catch her foot in a gap in the sidewalk. After all, who will take care of her if something happens to her.
It's a book about a sad subject, but it didn't leave me feeling sad.


beautiful boy

I have been reading "beautiful boy - a father's journey through his son's addictions" by David Sheff over the last month or so. It's not a "read from first page to last in one go" kind of book. For me, it was yet more research. Mr. Sheff's son used meth mostly. Meth is incredibly hard to get off, the success rate is in the single digits.
I did get a lot of insight from the book, what it is like to live with an addict, the ups (rehab successfully completed) and downs (relapse), the hope that this time rehab has taken for good, what meth does, the way an addict lies, both to him/herself and to others, what to do and not to do, which rehab centers are good, how hard it is to get into a center, how hard it is on the family (that's what Al-Anon and Alateen are for) etc. etc. It seems to me that living with an addict is its own kind of hell, a hell with hope, but still hell.
I highly recommend this book to parents who suspect their child might be experimenting with drugs and I also recommend it to anybody who is even vaguely considering trying meth. Don't even think about it!

Death Star Canteen

I watched this for the first time last night - twice - and just had to share. Yes, there's bad language (in case anybody minds) but it's also hilarious. The name Eddie Izzard rings a faint bell (louder since last night) but I still can't remember where I've heard it before. I don't watch BBC America much anymore.
Eddie Izzard and the Death Star Canteen done with Legos • videosift.com

I tried posting it in the link about, not sure if that works or not. But, there's a first time for everything.


Long Life Noodle Company & Jook Joint

The Long Life Noodle Company in Palo Alto has been one of our absolute favorite restaurants ever since we discovered it quite by chance a few years ago. Whenever we went to the Gem & Jewelry Show in San Mateo we drove the extra few miles for a good lunch, sometimes even ordered an extra take-out for dinner that night.
So, when we went to the show in San Mateo again yesterday, we fully expected to eat there again - had already picked out our favorites. We were more than a little surprised (gobsmacked, actually) when we walked to where the restaurant was in the Stanford Shopping Center and found the restaurant gone. There's obviously construction going on in the place and there were signs announcing that a "Sprinkles Cupcakes" was going to open in the summer of 2008.
Sprinkles Cupcakes replacing an incredibly popular Asian restaurant? I cannot understand it. This place was always full, we've had to wait for a table on several occasions. We asked around and while nobody had any details, a dispute with the landlord (probably meaning a raised rent) was mentioned. Supposedly, they closed about a month ago. I've googled but can't find anything other than reviews - just about all of them good.
Yes, there are two more restaurants in that small chain - both in San Francisco (one only open during the week, the one on Steuart Street; the other in the Metreon where the food isn't as good and the atmosphere is non-existant) but this was the best. And, while google says there's one in Berkeley, they are wrong. That one disappeared years ago.
I hope they've opened in another location and I just haven't been able to figure out where but if that's not the case, I am pretty upset.


A little yoga humor

This was in this morning's Wall Street Journal. Perfect timing - I had yoga this morning and my teacher got a real kick out of the cartoon.