Poisoned!

I’m bugging out!

Photo on 12-19-14 at 2.36 PM

I went to a favorite standby bar with my boss last night for a margarita.  We ordered what we always order;

  • Rocks/Salt Marg’s
  • Queso
  • Steak Quesadilla with Corn Tortillas

Our food arrived and I began munching.  We were talking about all things serious and silly and I was enjoying myself.  Somewhere near the end of my third slice of quesadilla my brain recognized the fact that this was waaaaay to flaky to be a corn tortilla.

I looked at it.  Closely.

By boss stopped talking and said “Is everything ok?”

I stared at the tiny little flakes of dough in my hand.

“Nope.” I said calmly “This is a flour tortilla. Please excuse me for a moment.”

I went into the bar bathroom and made myself throw up everything I could.  Again and again I stuck my finger down my throat and forced myself to get rid of as much of the gluten filled tortilla as possible.

When I got back to the table my boss informed me the restaurant had taken my info, offered to pay any medical bills, and comped our meal.  There were bringing out new, actually GF quesadillas for us. Our waitress was mortified and if she could have crawled under the floor boards right then I am sure she would have.

I sat and waited to see what would happen.  Within 45 minutes my boss told me I didn’t look so good.  I didn’t feel so good either.  My head had started to pound, the lights had auras and star points making all the world seem burning bright, the sounds in the bar were clamouring ever louder, streaming together into an impossible flurry of sound around my head. I asked my boss to drive me home, I couldn’t risk driving with such large auras.  He did.

I fell asleep within an hour. At about 8:30 and slept until about 8:30.  When I woke up I was swollen all over, my head was killing me, and I was pale as death.  I took a Benadryl and the swelling went down a little.

I am not angry at the restaurant. I know they have a good system in place because I eat there often.  Also, they did all they could to fix the mistake.  They can’t, I will be sick on some level for days until this ends, but they tried, immediately, to make reparations.

What angers me is that after five years of avoiding gluten at all costs I was poisoned by a quesadilla.  If I had known I was going to be poisoned, I would have gotten a long john, or tried a Voodoo Doughnut just once.  Instead, the days of swollen aching and itching are the result of a damned flour tortilla.

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Messages from the Universe

It was a high anxiety week for me, an emotional one filled with real and imagined slights and struggles.

I was cropped out of a family photo.  I announced my decision to leave Facebook.  I felt less alone and more connected than I had in years when I got requests for real addresses and contact information from people who didn’t want to lose touch. Thank you to all who did so.

Still, the anxiety increased, my decision to leave the platform of modern communication convinced my insecure inner demon that I would lose everyone the moment I hit the delete button.

Then messages starting coming.

Ann Patchett’s “The Sacrament of Divorce” gave me a heartbreaking peek into her own divorce, into the power of the loss of that relationship, the sorrow of the ending of a promise, the sense of loneliness, separation, and distance that comes into the life of a divorced person.  This unexpected gift poured from my Audible account as I felt the power of her words sink into my soul.  Tears dripped onto the Christmas gifts I was making, tears of release long repressed. The story ended and I felt lighter.

I found “A Simple Act of Gratitude” when looking for something new to read on my Kindle.  This story is one of a lawyer, recently divorced from his second marriage, estranged from his children, losing his practice, who decides to write a thank you note each day for one year.  The story is one of growth and progression as he learns to let go of his long held onto grievances and open himself up to the good things he has in his life.  He sends a thank you note to the barrista at the Starbucks who always remembers his name, he sends a note to his ex-wife, thanking her for being a good mother.  He doesn’t change overnight, he isn’t magically transformed like Scrooge in a Christmas story.  He still struggles to overcome his own sense of failure, sorrow, desertion.

I wrote a thank you note this morning.  I doubt I will try to match his daily note sending, but I am going to try to be grateful for something in my life every day, counting my blessings, playing Pollyanna’s “Glad Game”, until I feel the fullness of my life as surely as I feel the losses.

Then Carole, a friend of a friend of a friend I met on Facebook sent me the following video.  Just as I was beginning to seriously doubt my commitment to a life lived with less constant technological interaction, just when I was thinking I would keep my account and simply try to be more disciplined in using it, just when I needed this message the most.  Thank you Carole.  I cannot express how my anxiety and stress lifted away when I saw this.

My decision stands. It’s time to connect more intimately with those I love.

Will I miss it? Will it miss me?

Breaking up with Facebook feels like ending a long term relationship.  I didn’t expect the emotional response that has grown since I decided to delete my account.

I have had good advice from people;

Keep it open so you can get invites, just don’t post there. 

Block the people whose posts are upsetting you. 

Visit it less often, limit yourself, etc. 

All good ideas. All good advice. However, Facebook has a cloying appeal, with one push of a mouse button I can waste hours of my time reading articles on the top ten worst drunk texts of 2014.

Am I disciplined enough to have an account and yet not push the mouse button? Is there a real risk I will miss important announcements, invitations, etc. if I do delete the account?

Will I miss friends who are far away? Will they miss me? Is there a value to Facebook that goes beyond what I am currently seeing?

Right now, Facebook is allowing me to be lazy in my relationships.  My caller ID on my phone puts the numbers I call most often in my SpeedDial. I have two family members, two friends, work, and clients on my speed dial. I don’t have the friends I live close to, for the most part, because I don’t call them. I don’t talk to them. Instead I follow their posts on Facebook and feel as though I have put in the work necessary to maintain a relationship. I haven’t, and neither have they.  We are coasting on a glossy surface of paragraph updates with a picture or two.  Where once we would sit over a cup of coffee and talk for hours about whatever came to mind we are now reduced to “like” buttons and one or two sentence comments. I find myself seeking likes in the same way I used to seek approval from high school peers.  It took years of self discipline to decide not to care about the people who didn’t care about me and to invest my time, instead, in those who did.  Facebook undermines that diligence, and worse most likely because of its own algorithms and not through the choices of those friends.  Facebook decides who sees what with a constantly changes series of equations.

In short, I need to get out more.

If I stay on Facebook, will my behaviors change? If I leave will my behaviors change or will these tenuous ties grow weaker, further reduced by not even following the small updates in my feed?

When did social media replace social interaction? Is this a necessary part of growing up? Are the distances there because they are natural? Am I blaming a social media platform for something that is a natural progression in life?

So many questions, so much obsession. All over a website.

Contentment in coffee and my very own space…

It’s morning.

Yesterday they delivered my new bookshelf and I assembled it using an unreliable and irritating phillips head screwdriver I found in the evidence room.  I need to bring my own tool box into the office.

Anyhoo, I got the thing assembled.  It took less than half an hour and I happily placed it next to my filing cabinet and underneath the 67″ monitor I have hanging on the wall.

Today, I filled it partially with books. (Law books, as all law students know, are magically printed on super-thin delicate pages that somehow manage to weigh 47 tons each, resulting in hunchbacked lawyers across the nation.)  I carried in nearly a shelf full and happily arranged them.

Then I settled in with my cup of hot coffee and looked around my office.

Mine.

My space, with my door, that I can shut.

My chair.

My desk.

My books.

The high corner office hidden away from everyone else was hated by every other person it was given to. My boss had it, our ex-partner had it. Every single person despised being so far away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the office.

I revel in the ability to shut a door and work in silence.  I read contracts and develop websites and research with no one walking past me, asking me questions, breaking my flow.  I sit in my isolation chamber with my hot coffee surrounded by pictures of prairie dogs, my kids, Dan, and me snuggling tigers. I relax, I sink in, I smile.

I am at home.