Serpent gnawing at the roots of Yggdrasil

Dear Interent,

When you are diagnosed with a dairy allergy, your world takes on a whole different shape and color. Milk protein, whey, and their derivatives are in a lot of foods you would not normally assume they would be in, as well as medicines and hygeine products (whey is used in some toothpastes for whitening).  Where before I bought things based on their reputation and usefulness, I now buy things based on whether or not they will harm me, even unintentionally. And my most recent discovery? Vitamin Water Zero derives their calcium and magnesium from lactic acid, which as a milk derivative and thus makes me sick. Who the hell thinks to label read a bottle of water? I mean, it’s water!

My allergy is severe enough that my allergist told me under no circumstances should I leave the house without an EPI pen and benadryl on me at all times. This allergy seems so ridiculous at times, but sometimes it allows me to be mischievous, like telling the wait staff you want a meat burger slathered in bacon with vegan cheese on it or you want a meat pizza with vegan cheese. So there is that. We also found that I can tolerate sheep and goat’s milk based products, which has been huge to allow me to eat a lot of foods I haven’t had in a year – like Cacio e Pepe. (I also get to yell at Val and Kristin a lot when they complain about feeling ill since one is also allergic to dairy and the other is lactose intolerant, allowing me to lord over my dairy free righteousness.)

There are of course  things that I miss. A lot. Like ice cream. Sour cream. Good sharp cheddar. Italian food. Malts. Now that I know the reason why I’ve always felt like crap for most of my life has mostly to do with my dairy consumption, removing it from my diet means that on the whole, I feel a lot better. Huzzah! But while I’m extremely thankful for all the vegans in my life who have helped me obtain some of what I now miss, there is no substituting good old fashioned cow milk. I also don’t really care what anyone says, vegan or not, you simply cannot substitute the creaminess of a good sharp cheddar with some soy and nut based concoction. Anyone who tries to sell you that bridge in Nebraska is a fucking liar.

Despite the label reading, and missing out of things, and carrying an EPI pen with me at all times, it isn’t these things that cause me the most frustration. Suprisingly, it’s the fact I have to constantly defend or explain my allergy to people who think that reading WebMD qualifies them to be medical experts:  No, I’m not lactose intolerant, I’m allergic to milk and can go into anaphylactic shock. People who are lactose intolerant have digestion issues, people who are allergic have digestion issues, breathing problems, hives, and other fun maladies. Yes, I can eat eggs. Yes, I can eat beef. No, I probably can’t eat $X because $X has milk and/or whey in it.  And so forth, and so on. I’ve had strangers tell me I was wrong about my allergy, or give entirely unasked for advice when my allergy is brought up.

Honestly? I don’t get why they feel justified in sharing their Wikipedia knowledge with me when they are almost always wrong, and secondly, I dont’ get why people always seem to think they know better than someone with decades of experience on this particular topic or who lives with it day by day. My allergy is potentially life threatening. Please do not dismiss this as being trivial just because Kathie Lee and Hoda had a nutritional expert on the TODAY show supposedly debunking allergies based on some non-peer reviewed research provided by Billy Bob’s consortium and tackle company.

If you don’t know, ask. Just don’t assume.


NaNoWriMo: Day #1

Dear Internet,

Today’s word count: 861
Total word count: 861

One of the projects I worked on over the summer was consolidating my writing into a manageable organization to figure out what needed work, what didn’t and so on. I found all of my Scrivener files floating around various locations, consolidated them into one central location, and was pleasantly surprised to see how much notes and writing I had done on previous existing works. I spent a couple of hours reading and making mental notes because truthfully, I had no idea what I was going to write this time around other than I knew I had to write. I was hoping to put together ome kind of outline or plan, but even with some works in progress, this felt like it needed to be more off the cuff then researched based. Plus, I’ve also been bursting with so many ideas that it is hard to decide which one needs the love most of all.

I found a couple of pieces I had started writing from way back when and pulled bits of what I liked from them, using those ideas to craft something new. I cranked out almost 900 words in about 1.25 hours, which is pretty awesome I say. I know tomorrow, Friday, is going to be hard to steal time to write and I plan on making up most of the slack this weekend. I also need to start constructing something resembling a plot so I can get this project moving forward.

Here is what I’ve come up with: Unnamed female (so far), whom we’ll call Jane Doe for now, wakes up to the looming faces of her best friends to find out she’s lost several days. In panic, and concern, they reach out to one of Jane’s family members, a great aunt, who owns a store of some sort in norther Michigan, specifically on the 45th parellel. Her friends pack Jane, her dog Gaston, and most of her belongings into Jane’s car to send her to this mysterious to figure out her life.

Here is what I know:

  • From the 900 words, with very little written description  I know Jane is a blonde, ex-smoker who cheats like mad, and likes old technology. She’s angry, confused, and brave. She doesn’t know what happened, but she knows she’ll find the answer sooner or later. She has a dog named Gaston who is trained to respond to unique keywords. For example, “Chocolate chips” is his cue to go into attack mode. All of her immediate family is missing/presumed dead and she is an only child (this part may change).
  • Her aunt is going to be Nanny Ogg from Discworld mixed with Mrs. Roper from Three’s Company. Her store (yet undetermined) will also act as a meeting place for the local supernatural/paranormal world. Jane doesn’t know it yet, but her family has some special skills. This also will help explain her missing/dead parents.
    • A year or so ago, I was digging around for conspiracies about the 45th parellel and came up with, well, quite a bit. There were once thought to be magical properties and a major ley line, so if there is any good place to have a paranormal world, this would be it.
  • A couple of years ago, I wrote a very detailed sequence of events of how one of my characters lost time, but it doesn’t quite fit in here. I’ll see what I can beat into submission.
  • I recently read about when the British moved from Julian to Gregorian calendar in 1752, that Wednesday September 2 moved into Thursday September 14 to make up for the drift of time over the centuries. I’ve been toying with the idea this “lost time” as it were, plays into my story. Think of something along the lines of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next novels, except significantly less funny.
  • I’m debating on creating a new village in the area I am placing Jane or usigng an existing one. Jury is still out on this.
  • NaNoWriMo doesn’t have genre to fit this but it will best be described as paranormal/mystery/magical realism with a dash of quirk.
  • No romance unless it somehow moves the plot forward and pairing will not be the end all/be all for the final.
  • This will not be the great American-Canadian novel and I’m okay with that.

This should be enough to get me going for awhile.

More tomorrow.


First Maker of Poetry: NaNoWriMo 2012

Dear Internet,

As my convalescence was ending in August,  I worked out a plan to jump start my writing as all the voices in my head were beginning to drive me to distraction. It was them or me. But as time marched on, my mobility has improved, and lifetm keeps getting in the way, some of those promises have gone to the wayside. I found when TheHusband would chain me to my desk and demand I write 1000 words, I could do that fairly easily, even with just a kernel of an idea. So with that in mind, I decided I’m going to use National Novel Writing Month as the public shame (in addition to TheHusband’s) to push myself back on track.


  • Write five days a week, 2500 words each day
    • Space break days apart.
    • Adjust word count appropriately if missed more then two break days
    • Does not include outlining or research
  • Blog five days a week, 250-500 words each piece
    • Blog pieces can be on any topic
    • Alpha/beta reading does not count towards blog pieces since these are private
  • No editing
  • No website design changes. Period.
  • Excluding household chores and the occasional eating, non-NaNoWriMo related activities (TV, cross-stitching, knitting, etc) are on hold until days word count has been reached

How you can support


Fingers crossed,