I've worked in downtown Mountain View more than a year now. I still like the eclectic mix of shops and restaurants, and the feeling of being in the center of the technology universe.
Exactly one block from my office is the city library. My bad for not discovering it sooner. It adjoins a big grassy park and I've been taking advantage of both this fall.
Just this week I polished off a quick trashy novel and checked out the Steve Jobs autobiography. Now, instead of using Amazon 1-Click, I walk over to the library and check out or reserve the book I JUST MUST READ.
I'm having flashbacks to my childhood summers where I checked out as many books from the Orinda Library as they would let me and then holed up in my room devouring them.
I'm thinking about how easy it was to drive into the city today, much easier than I'd envisioned. It's easily been 15 years since I'd participated in the casual carpool. The casual carpool is a Bay Area institution, one that's existed for at least 30 years. People queue up in specific East Bay locations and other people pull up in their cars, two riders hop in, and they drive into the city taking advantage of the carpool lane. There is a generally accepted drop off area downtown and the riders exit. Thank you's are said and everyone goes in their separate direction. Yes, I had two total strangers in my car today. No, it didn't cause me any angst at all. Only in the land of the fruits and the nuts.
I'm thinking about why I picked this dank Potrero Hill cafe to meet my childhood friend, Wendy. It's grittier than I'd thought it would be and offers few breakfast options, which is only a problem since I'm gluten-free.
I'm thinking about having lunch with my friend who is in San Francisco on a year's work assignment. I'm wondering if the restaurant I have picked is as good as it was when we celebrated Leeann's 40th birthday there.
I'm thinking about how chaotic the city will be tomorrow when the World Series starts. And I'm thinking about how beautiful the drive was this morning and how lucky I am to live close to San Francisco, a city that takes my breath away every time I see it even though I've lived here 25 years.
My friend texted me this picture last week. It was her 42nd birthday. Her oldest is a college freshman and her youngest is in kindergarten. These identical twins will be her 5th and 6th children.
I am thrilled for her, for them. I know how much fun twins are and I've seen first-hand what an amazing mother she is. She has a large, helpful extended family and these kids will have an interesting, happy life surrounded by people who adore them.
I am saddened, however, by at least one of the comments people have left on her blog. One woman responded "having twins is my worst nightmare". Wake up sister. Does any pregnant woman need to hear that? I hope she pulls that comment down.
The hormonal ups and downs are hard enough when you're pregnant with a singleton. Imagine twice the amount of joy and anxiety.
We're here for you Celia. And I believe that these babies are your and Carl's reward for being such wonderful parents and good people.
Do you crave sweets after eating protein? I do. And I've heard that others do, too. I think this is why steakhouses offer a heavy dessert selection. Heavy as in calorie-laden and heavy as in broad selection. Would anyone really enjoy a fruit plate following a session of carnivorous gluttony?
This presents a problem when you're off gluten. For me, the gluten-free friendly way to handle this urge is dried apricots. I'm eating them at least once a day now.
The bread products I don't much miss. Much is the key word in that last sentence. I did on Saturday morning when the kids wanted ebilskivers for breakfast. And I made them. I missed gluten a bit on Friday night when we went to the elementary school Fall Festival and I volunteered at the cake walk, surrounded by tables of sticky sweet, Halloween-themed baked goods. But mostly I don't think about what I'm missing.
Do I feel any different? Yes. But not a lot. I haven't hit the part where you sleep better and have more energy. I think I feel better because I'm eating healthier, cleaner. A lot of people I know are sick right now, victims of the the summer to fall weather transition cold. People seem to be suffering from seasonal allergies right now. I've managed to avoid those, too.
Dave and I went out to lunch with a mutual friend last week and I thought long and hard before joining them. I wanted to make good choices. I also picked the seat at the table facing the wall, not the one facing into the room where I could see the fish and chips I ordered in my past life.
I talked to a mom at the Fall Festival and she was diagnosed with celiac disease five years ago. It's a challenge staying gluten-free and also cooking for a family of five. That's a blog post for the Triumph Dining blog.
There's another Triumph Dining blog post in another dilemma, too. Now that I've done a great deal of reading on the benefits of a gluten-free diet I want to share my findings with others. A friend has been recently diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. There is a fair amount of research showing that removing gluten from your diet can alleviate some of the symptoms. But as a gluten-free newbie and also one who tends not to proselytize in general, I don't want to give advice.
You know you've arrived when the name of your company becomes a verb. As in: Google it.
My cousin works at Google. We carpool as often as we can. Along came a day when we both had extra time after arriving in the South Bay and so she took me to breakfast on the campus. And I got a first-hand look at the Google Mystique.
People want to work at Google. The company has a reputation for product innovation and taking care of its employees.
Breakfast, like all meals in the gourmet-chef-staffed restaurants, was free. The cafe we dropped by offered four hot entrees (oatmeal, egg tacos, scrambled eggs and French toast), a cereal bar, a fruit bar, a gourmet coffee counter, cheeses and bottled drinks in a trendy, modern tech setting with lots of natural light.
On the way out I stopped in the bathroom. And there I found those fancy Japanese toilets with seat warmers, dryers, bidets, music to disguise the actual reason for your trip to the loo, deodorization and masking fragrances (they are different).
Other Google employee perks include childcare centers and freebies like massages, gyms, pool tables, lava lamps, hair cuts, legal advice, bocce ball courts, a giant climbing wall and bowling alleys. There is also on-campus medical care and, although it's not free, it's very convenient.
Isn't your day more interesting now that you know this?
I've not cheated at all. Then again you can't cheat when you're adopting a lifestyle and not dieting. Living gluten-free is a lifestyle, a choice at least for me who has not been diagnosed with celiac disease.
Some things I've noticed:
I grocery shop more than I used to. This is a big deal since my husband does the shopping and does it dang well. But now I shop because I want particular things and because I'm so new to this that I need to take my time and read labels.
At the grocery store I spend much more time on the perimeter than I do in the aisles. Meat. Fruits and veggies. Eggs. About the only thing I got from the beautifully merchandised Halloween decorated aisles today was walnuts and bottled sparking water. Although our local grocery has plenty of gluten-free products (and I carry my Triumph Dining Grocery Guide around with me, which is very helpful), I've stuck with whole foods thus far.
I've lost a few pounds. But not many. My body has reorganized my waistline to differently display the whole foods I'm eating. I have not worked out the last week because boneheaded me fell down the stairs on Day 3 while taking a load of laundry to the wash. That'll teach me to do laundry before the sun rises.
Planning is key. I prep lunch the night before and bring it to work because I don't want to be tempted by Posh Bagel on the ground floor.
I'm in a good mood. Is that the lack of gluten? The busy, interesting work week I had? The perfect fall weather here in Northern California? I'm not sure.
I've developed a serious craving for oven-roasted tomatoes. My parents have been in Africa the last five weeks and I've been harvesting tomatoes from their garden. I slice the tomatoes in half, sprinkle them with Kosher salt and drown them in olive oil from Tom & Esty's weekend home. I cook half until they look just like this picture then cook the other half until they're crispy and chip-like. The crunchy sweetness is addicting.
For those of you who live a gluten-free lifestyle, do you remember your transition?
My alarm went off at 5:15a like it does most Monday mornings. By 6a I was in the car on the way to work, my stomach in knots. Was it because I was hungry or because it was upset?
And so today, October 1, I'm doing what many other people have done: cutting gluten out of my diet to see if it makes a difference.
Two years ago celiac disease and a gluten-free lifestyle became regular words in my vocabulary because my husband, our friend Bobby and I bought Triumph Dining, a publishing company devoted to this market.
Since then I've learned a lot from our readers, our advertisers and our bloggers. If this is on your radar, by all means check out the Triumph Dining Blog or sign up for the newsletter.