Saturday, October 31, 2009

Good News: I don't feel the need to document the state of my gastric health right now. Like hives and eye-twitches and phantom spasms, stress is usually the culprit behind most mild health anomalies, and once it is managed or simply addressed, the symptoms usually dissipate. For me. I am fortunate in this.

I am fortunate in many other ways, among them for having a little Sunni in my life. Sunni, of course, is the CEO of Dogpatch, the canine day camp my dear boy Victor attends weekly. That she not only offers an affordable loving dog-day care service, that it is out among acres of farm and woodland in Clackamas Oregon, that she has swimming pools in the summer and bonfires in the winter, that she genuinely cares for every dog as if it were her own child (because the majority of her clients do treat their dogs as their kin), are reasons enough to be grateful to her for life. But when, at the end of a particularly frustrating day at work when it feels like your job description is to disappoint people, and Sunni hands you a grocery bag containing 3 pounds of freshly picked chanterelle mushrooms, you feel like you are one of life's lucky people. And appreciating luck wherever you can find it may just be the key to happiness.

I took my stash home and didn't even need to think about what I was going to do with the first pound of mushrooms. Right now I have a border at my house, a nice young man assisting my friend Kelly Reichardt with the script supervising and now post-production of her most recent film. I imagine that Gordon thinks I'm mildly cool, for an older person, and also a little crazy, which is fine. Hopefully, someone coming home and announcing that they are going to cook dinner, and proceeding to make fettucini from scratch is the kind of crazy person Gordon can tolerate for the next 2 months. In a surprisingly short amount of time, we were eating a very 1980's meal of homemade pasta with chanterelles cooked with ample amounts of butter and garlic, enriched with creme fraiche, and finished with fresh parsley and reggiano. Again, Sunni made life extraordinary. How on earth do I thank a woman who can't accept gifts of fat and sugar because of her husband's heart condition? Perhaps by paying it forward, I will continue to feed the karmic cycle.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Purge and Binge

Over the last few weeks I've had to face the reality that my GI tract is not Old Ironsides, and as mentioned in my previous post, I've modified my diet significantly in the hopes that I can put GERD to rest without a lifetime dependency on medication. The prescription of a monastic diet, I'm sorry to say, worked pretty well. But even after eliminating coffee and wine and dairy and chocolate, took some time before I really noticed a difference. And the discovery of Aloe Vera Juice helped too. I am of the belief that God did not intend for us to ingest the flesh of the aloe vera plant, because the taste is putrid. It is what I imagine urine might taste like, only less salty. But it works, much like the way you use it as a salve on a skin burn. So slowly I am graduating from eating like a baby to eating more like an adult human. I must say, despite my complaints, it was nice to rediscover the satisfaction in a bowl of rice:

When I was young, I used to love going over my friend Bayleh Shapiro's house because her mother panfried Hebrew National Hotdogs until they were black, as opposed to boiling them, and served Minit Rice topped with a dollop of butter (well, probably margarine). I have no idea what Minit Rice might taste like today but at the time it was far superior to anything my mother spent 20 minutes more preparing, and this gastroesophageal convalescence brought me back to fond memories of Mrs. Shapiro's bland fare. I will not miss this hiccup in my lifestyle, but when it happens again at least I know I can look forward enjoying plain rice and thinking of Millie Shapiro.