Friday, March 16, 2012

You Learn Something New Everyday

[Update:  Gluten Free Gratefully can now be found at, where the GlutenNaziMom blog lives.  Kim Jorgensen Gane's general, 'woman power' related blog can now be found at West Coast Posse.]

Apparently I've been committing a big NO-NO by cross-posting my Gluten Free Gratefully blog on Blogger to my WCP Bloggage blog at West Coast Posse.  The topic of a post on BlogHer yesterday (which I can't find again today, bummer), leads me to believe that continuing to do so will hurt my standing with Google, and thus make it impossible to ever show up in searches in the future.  We CAN'T have THAT!!  Therefore, this marks the end of my short period of posting regularly, yet long affair with Gluten-Free Gratefully.  I will be posting original blogs on West Coast Posse, and cross posting only to BlogHer.  If you found this blog because you were looking for gluten-free support, please visit, and please follow my pinterest board for all my favorite #GF resources.

You can connect with Kim Jorgensen Gane on LinkedIN.

And you can review her CV, of sorts, here.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Finding My Voice

In order to gain insight and a belief in my ability and intent to write, I have sought out the work of local authors to make it feel more human to me and thus more possible.  Here in San Diego, novelist Margaret Dilloway and non-fiction, self-help author Debbie Ford have both been of interest, and I recently read "The Red Skirt Memoirs of an Ex Nun," by Patricia O'Donnell-Gibson, from whom we bought our house in Michigan, although I never met her personally.  Through Facebook, I've also renewed friendships with those from high school who have successfully made writing their career.  My friends Kitty Broihier and Sondra Dee Garrison actually spent time honing their craft in college, whereas I have little more than an excellent high school English department to bank on (thank you, SJHS and Mrs. Nealer, much as I may have despised it at the time, and Mr. Hop, who inspired and encouraged me and so many others, including my step-daughter the year he retired), and I have always operated at my own speed, especially when it comes to believing in myself.

There's a saying by Dr. Seuss, "Why fit in when you were born to stand out?"  Well, I've spent my entire life trying and feeling as though I failed to fit in, fighting that fact and vacillating between being proud and feeling bad that I'm just different.  I have always enjoyed the spotlight, while others may shy away from it and look at me as though I'm an alien.  I was a single mom before all the celebrities were doing it.  I certainly didn't fit the mold of the corporate employee when I worked at Whirlpool.  I have enjoyed having standard poodles because of the attention they attract since people don't see them every day (and the no slobbering and no shedding parts, which kinda rock).  And I've had to relearn practically everything about parenting that was successful with our daughters, because our son is a different creature with unique needs.  And it only took me six years to make that boy; later in life when anybody my age with any sense was finished building their families.  Let's face it; times they have a'changed very much so from when we raised our girls.  Did I say I have always operated at my own speed?  There was a reason I was dubbed The Poky Puppy in Kindergarten, and I’m stubborn, too.

It isn't as though people have told me my whole life that I'm not worthy; quite the opposite, in fact.  The spotlight I enjoyed so much when I was younger came from my singing, for which I received a lot of appreciation, support and encouragement.  But it's almost as if singing was too easy.  My words were different.  They were personal, and they were my (crazy?) thoughts and feelings...things I was afraid to put out there for the world to see.  I did have teachers who encouraged me about writing, from as far back as grade school.  I can vividly remember Mrs. Schroeder telling me in fifth grade how descriptive my writing was.  And during one of the most difficult times in my life, working in corporate America and so not fitting in, a communications consultant I'd befriended told me that I had the ability to impact people someday.  College just never happened, but motherhood did, and years of keeping my words to myself made any confidence I may have once had falter.  I occasionally showed my daughters bits of my writing and they liked it, but what else could they say?  What if everybody my whole life was just humoring me?   I mean, watch American Idol auditions for five minutes and you realize there are plenty of people whose families delude them into thinking they’re great.

Well this is me.  Operating at my own speed.  In my forties, I'm finally coming to accept that maybe I don't have to be Special, I just have to be Willing.  Everything I write doesn't have to be Brilliant, it just has to be Good, and it's OK to do it just for myself.  Writing daily does seem to be having a positive effect on quieting my mind, and that's a good thing.  At some point, however, I have to be willing to risk rejection, to risk people rolling their eyes and thinking, "Who does she think she is?"  (Probably my worst fear and what has paralyzed me more than anything else over the years.)  In the meantime, if you get something from what I write, GREAT!  If not, as my very encouraging friend and “writing colleague,” Sondra Dee Garrison said, "There's plenty to go around."  There exists something out there that will resonate with you, and in turn, what I write will surely resonate with someone.  Anyone?  Hello?    

Check out the Blogrolls here.         Cross-posted to West Coast Posse, which will be home in April.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hungry Anyone?

A couple of years ago, my then thirteen-year-old niece told me about the book she was reading, "The Hunger Games," by Suzanne Collins.  She absolutely loved it, and even my brother was reading it.  Still, I was a little dismissive about reading a book whose intended audience was initially middle schoolers and up.  As hungrily as both of my girls read the entire Harry Potter series and have eagerly awaited every movie, I've yet to read the books.  I believe all the hype; I'm certain they're as wonderful as everyone says they are, but I guess I'm waiting to experience them for the first time with my son.  Unfortunately he's still absorbed in the Beast Quest series, by Adam Blade, and he's not quite ready for demons and parents dieing.  Which, by the way, is a great way to get a little boy who is a reluctant reader off and running.

Flash forward to all the hype surrounding The Hunger Games series recently, and the fact that the movie is being released on March 23, and I finally got on board.  And I'm so glad I did.  I finished the first book into the am hours last night, and immediately got the second one and can't wait to begin reading it tonight.  Even though this series was conceived or at least marketed for young readers, it is so tightly written, and the story develops so well through the action, you won't feel at all like you're reading one of your kids' books. 

I always try to read a book before I see a movie, because I think the best thing about hunkering down with a truly great book is the part my own imagination plays in the experience.  And in my imagination, my amazing niece was Katniss Everdeen herself.  She is one of the strongest young ladies I know.  She's a competitive gymnast and an archer, and I could clearly see the determination she shows in her sport in every one of those pages.  I imagined Rue as a blend of my three younger nieces, and saw the admiration they have always had for their big sister in Prim.  All my nieces are feisty, fierce and admirable in their character, strength and fortitude, both on the mats and off, and I certainly wouldn't bet against any one of them in any game.  And from now on, I'll keep an open mind when they recommend a good book.

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Oops, I Did it Again

Ugh!  It doesn't take much to put me in a tailspin.  A simple one hour time change will do it quite sufficiently.  My son and I both had a devil of a time getting out of bed this morning, and then horror of horrors, I was looking at a clock that didn't get switched and failed to pick him up at noon (never mind the itty bitty one in the corner of the computer screen I was sitting in front of)!  An ENTIRE week of half days for conferences WOULD have to coincide with Spring Forward!  Really?  This is good planning?

Am I the only mom who requires a good week to maybe a month to become accustomed to the spring time change?  I don't seem to have nearly the problem adjusting in the fall that I do in the spring.  Maybe the problem is when I lose that hour, it takes me until fall to find it.

Of course, this isn't the first time I've failed to pick up a child, and Lord help me, but it probably won't be the last either.  When my oldest daughter was young and I was working full-time, there was one day a week she didn't go to her after school program because she had Brownies.  This meant I had to collect her half an hour earlier that night than the rest of the week.  This created a bit of a problem.  I'm pretty good when I can get into a routine, but any little wrinkle and I'm trying to head off trouble at the pass.  Mind you, this was well before iPhones with alarms and calendars were invented to keep us on track.  I had only my Franklin Planner, and as brilliant as they were at the time, it didn't yell at me to go pick up my kid!  So...let's just say there were occasions when I might have arrived a few minutes late.

Snooty Mrs. Brownie Leader did not like me, and therefore she didn't like my child.  She clearly saw herself as Mrs. Perfect Mom and saw me as Single Loser Mom, when I was really more like Trying To Keep Her Car From Getting Repossessed and Keep Her Kid Alive Mom.  In the long run I failed at the first part (briefly; got it refinanced and got it back, thanks to someone who didn't look down on single moms), but must say I did pretty brilliantly at the second part because my daughter is a Purdue graduate and will marry her high school sweetheart later this year.

Anyhow, Snooty Mrs. Brownie Leader had warned me that this particular Tuesday I had to be on time because she was leaving at exactly 5:30 to go vote at the Baroda Town Hall.  Well that's like inviting a kid not to take the last jelly bean when you turn your back.  I mean, if you put it in my mind, make me fret and obsess about it all day long, chances are pretty good that it's going to be a self-fulfilling prophecy and become exactly what I do.  It's just the way I'm wired!  I don't like being wired that way, but I am.

So I drive frantically all the way from Whirlpool, which is way north of town, to Hollywood School, which is far south of town, only to find the parking lot empty and the gymnasium doors locked.  Remember that this was well before iPhones?  I didn't even have the Michael Douglas shoe phone from Wall Street!  I had to drive through my tears to a payphone at a gas station and call my brother who lived two blocks from the Baroda Town Hall.  He sprinted across the lawns in his bare feet, found her with Snooty Brownie Leader, and sprinted back to his house with her on his shoulders, giggling and delighted at the prospect of spending the unexpected time with her uncle and aunt.

Yeah...she never went to Brownies again.  And she didn't miss it one bit.  Unfortunately, my son still has to go to school tomorrow.

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Big Girl Panties

That's my new mantra.

As in:

I don't want to clean my son's bathroom (ew)...put on your Big Girl Panties, your rubber gloves and a face mask and just do it, preferably right before your shower, and maybe even naked.

I don't feel like walking today...put on your Big Girl Panties, your shoes and just do it.

I don't know what to write today...put on your Big Girl Panties, sit at your computer and just start typing.

I don't care to fight with my kid about eating his broccoli...put on your Big Girl Panties, make the damn broccoli and just set a good example and eat it yourself first.

And here's a big one:

I don't have a clue where to begin to help my kid succeed in school...put on your Big Girl Panties, talk to his teacher, and be willing to go in every day, STUDY THOSE MATH FACTS every day, and give him the opportunity to rise to the high expectations he is more than capable of meeting.  In other words, make him put on his Big Girl Panties.

Self-discipline has never been something I tap into easily.  But the payoffs are magical, numerous and probably limitless (I say probably because I only just started so I don't actually know for sure yet, but I have an inkling).  For instance, you won't be embarrassed when the Potty Queen is over, however briefly and unexpectedly, and must use your bathroom.  If you just put your shoes on first thing when you change your clothes in the morning, you'll be more likely to walk, which will feel great and your dog will love you even more and won't pester you so much when you're trying to write, which could eventually lead to something delightful and unexpected even if you didn't know in advance what you were sitting down to write that day, but that probably actually came to you while you were walking. 

And best of all, the kid who cried daily about math homework and took hours to complete five problems, suddenly answers, "Actually math," was his favorite thing at school, when, "Recess," was the usual answer to the daily question.  Not only that, he approaches homework enthusiastically, and completes it in a timely manner and has time to actually play after dinner on a weeknight.

So what if he still doesn't eat his broccoli with similar enthusiasm...neither do I.  But this recipe from The Barefoot Contessa might actually rectify that situation in the future.  And here you go, in case you need your own set of Big Girl Panties.

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Thursday, March 08, 2012

I Totally Lied!

I'm a sucker for validation.  I do need it, and when I don't get (enough of) it, I pout.

This is me.  Pouting.

Plus, I need to do more than just wash m' bits.  I need a real shower, like shaving and hair washing and blow-drying and all.  Maybe I should just get a wax.  Alas, no--been there, done that, and NEVER again!  This IS NOT mine, but consider it my public service announcement and a humorous little bonus for today.

And, writing every day means the dust bunnies are winning.

I've missed my Dyson Canister Vac; we need to get reacquainted.

Back tomorrow with more wisdom (I hope) and introspection.  I do some of my best thinking when I'm vacuuming...and tomorrow should really be good!

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Wednesday, March 07, 2012

A Rose by Any Other Name....

I was sitting in my neighbor's kitchen having coffee this morning, looking out over her spectacular view of the San Diego coast, and wishing we didn't live on the other side of the street.  We were chatting about the things neighbors chat about, and I told her about my recent daily writing expedition for BlogHer's NaBloPoMo.  And lo and behold, today's writing prompt asks us "Would you rather have more blog readers or more blog comments?"  This is timely for me because I was lamenting  that the blog I started with one measly entry back in 2006 not only fails to define me now, but I fear it also fails to attract readers.  Being gluten free defined me then, because I allowed it to define me.  All these years later, however, being gluten free represents only one very small facet of my life, my experience, and what I feel I can contribute to the Blogosphere.

Point in fact:  I finally had the chance yesterday to visit and peruse Melissa Ford's blog, "Stirrup Queens."  Before visiting, I couldn't imagine what a blog of that title was about.  I assumed she was an expert of all things horsey; that perhaps she road horses, showed horses, owned a barn, shoveled shit in a barn, heck, maybe she even did her writing in her barn.  I've met some horsey people from my daughter's years of taking riding lessons, and am familiar with the drama that tends to go on in barns.  I thought it could be an entertaining way to pass the afternoon, and it could prove to be good research.  Well you could have knocked me over with a flake of hay when I discovered that the stirrups to which she was referring were the ones we women put our heels into when a doctor type is having a, down there!

It turns out that Stirrup Queens is a meticulous blog, into which Melissa has put an incredible amount of volunteer work.  It connects women who are dealing with or have dealt with infertility (IF), whatever the outcome.  Oh, to have had access to this fifteen years ago, but it still very much resonated with me because it isn’t something you forget or ever get over.  Within her blog are sub-blogs that help connect those with one diagnosis vs. another who, through whatever means, achieved pregnancy but without a baby at the end (me), those who have adopted, and those who were blessed to give birth to a baby or babies at the end of it all (also me, very fortunately so).  Through Melissa's blog, I came upon "Certainly Not Cool Enough To Blog," written by a woman who identifies herself only as "msfitzita," whose journey through infertility has come to an unfruitful end, with which she is trying to make peace.  She writes so eloquently about being a "childless mother," and being in "perpetual mourning," and her feelings are so raw and palpable; she puts into words almost everything I've ever felt about being a mother, trying to be a mother again, being a mother whose monumental efforts end in loss, and even being a mother who can't believe some days how blessed I am to have become one again.  I can't know how it feels to be a mother who can't touch, sing to, mold, treasure, and even fight with her children, except through msfitzita's beautifully penned words, and others like her.

It's been tossing about in my mind for some time, but it is partly through reading her blog that I understood that being a mother is the very essence of who I am, and permeates every facet of who I became the moment I realized I was pregnant with my daughter at only twenty years old and alone; as well, through the struggles and riches of being a step-mom.  If I possess an ounce of the power to help and connect others as these women do, I would rather have more readers, whether or not they ever post a comment.  I don't think I can do that with the Gluten-Free Gratefully name I chose for my blog so many years ago.  The only people who are likely to read it now are those who are looking specifically for gluten-free answers, recipes and advice, of which there are probably thousands out there now.  Back then there weren't so many, and if I hadn't been so mired in our daily dietary and behavioral struggles, and trying to survive from one day to the next, like Melissa I might now be recognized as a pioneer in that community.
And here's another thing...I didn't follow the normal, ‘conventional medicine’ path to have my son.  I started out that way, but my path veered off in a very different direction, when I overcame my polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis through natural, dietary and holistic means. This is also something about which I feel I can share and contribute.  It is also the original vision I had for my wannabe website, "GlutenNaziMom;" yet another example of the ideas being right there, but the execution hovering just out of reach due to my self-diagnosed ADD ways.  Not only am I all over the place in my daily life, I'm pretty much all over the place on the internet, too.  So in this particular case, if you are reading, I would appreciate your comments with any pointers in the right direction.  Speaking of which, I need to catch up on that Writing for the Internet online course I'm taking so I can figure out how to put it all together into one place.

Stay tuned......


Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Conflict of Interest Interruptus

I tried to write yesterday, really I did.  My day began delightfully, with a rare hour and a half spent talking with my mom on the phone.  She was excited and energized about her business and a new friendship with possibilities of romance, and she has a great idea about how to develop her business this year.  I encouraged her to take a leap of faith and go for it.  I was energized and excited by my newly developed "daily" writing habit which, for my ADD addled brain, is a pretty hard habit to come by.  Of course she was proud of me and encouraged me to keep it up. 

Just a little caffeine helps keep me somewhat focused, but some (many) days it's not enough.  Yesterday was one of those days.  It didn't help that I had a hair appointment I had to rush to get ready for, the gecko needed worms (like, bad!), my son had Taekwondo after school, homework had to be done, dinner wasn't even on the radar yet, so somewhere in there a quick stop at the grocery store was required.  By the time I had a moment to write, I was beyond pooped, and nothing I came up with was worthy of publishing.

And, well, The Bachelor's "The Women Tell All" episode was on and I was distracted by the horrific behavior of those women toward one another, again.  I am still dumbfounded by any of it surrounding this particular bachelor (sorry, Ben).  He has a certain charm to him, but he needs to stop cutting his own hair and the smacking!  He is the smackiest kisser I can recall on any Bachelor or Bachelorette season yet.  I actually found him more appealing in the silliness of the outtakes than during what's been aired all season.   

So why am I still watching?  Why are any of us still watching?  Why do any of the shows that depict people, particularly women, who behave so badly toward one another draw such an audience?  Clearly, the presence of cameras brings out the worst in people who aren't trained or scripted to behave otherwise, and maybe that's the key to and the definition of (anti-)Reality TV.

Perhaps shows like that allow us to become absorbed in someone else's drama momentarily; to fantasize about how we would have liked to respond to that parent at school who yelled at our kid, or the person in front of us at the grocery store with thirty-eight items in the fifteen item or less express lane, or even our husband who "helpfully" removes the package of plastic cups from the refrigerator and stores them above our eye level so we have to search frantically to find them when we need them to go to school with the drink we have to provide for the class Valentine's Day party, which is why they were in the bag in the refrigerator with the drinks that went with them in the first place; so that our ADD brain couldn't possibly leave for school without them!

Sometimes I would love to be the lady who talks to herself like there's someone standing next to her by the grapefruit and then by the peppers and again by the apples (and I never did see her buy anything), or that person who parks their car all askew and makes no attempt to fix it, or the one to leave a package of pork chops on the shelf by the laundry detergent instead of taking it up front to the checkout where a bagger can run it back to refrigeration, but I'm not.  I'm just the girl who sometimes gets distracted a little too easily and forgets what she was doing five minutes ago, who leaves laundry in the washer too long and has to rewash it, who forgets to buy worms for the gecko for two weeks, or who has a little trouble focusing on her writing on a particularly hectic day and just needs to escape reality for a little while...Squirrel!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Trying to Find Love in a Tablet

On a recent visit with her family to San Diego, my girlfriend, Anna, shared a great book with me; "The Happiness Project," by Gretchen Rubin.  I've only read the first couple chapters so far, but perhaps you've noticed in my blog that I've been conscious of making the best of being so far away from family, longtime friends and what will always be home.  Let me tell you, spending the afternoon with newer friends, sitting beside a pool on March 4 was definitely a good reason to be grateful and happy today.

I just love pools, beaches, and activities of any kind on any body of water.  Growing up in a resort town on the shores of Lake Michigan has made me a water child, for sure.  Plus I'm a Cancer, which is a water sign.  I also love books.  One of my favorite things to do while relaxing by a pool is read a great book.

I dearly miss books, in fact.  Good old-fashioned, curl the pages back, dogear them all you want, paperback books.  I love to display hardcover books; the colors of the jackets and the art are pleasing to me.  I have books out in my guest room in case my guests can't sleep.  And once upon a time, I even had two large library shelves filled with books in my living room.  My children have all had vast book collections; even Aidan, who is coming of age in the tablet generation. 

I've been trying to get accustomed to reading e-books, but it's just not the same.  I miss hungrily turning each page.  I miss the smell of books; ruffling the pages so the smell wafts up on the breeze it makes.  Books feel warm and like things to be treasured, tablets seem cold and impersonal.  Most of all, I miss passing along a book to a good friend, and receiving one in return.

I'm trying to be hip...after all, I'm writing a BLOG, aren't I?  But let's just say that I'm not in love with my tablet just yet in the same way that I've always enjoyed a love affair with a great book.