Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A life I have

I have decided that being a VISTA is one part job and two parts manipulative, grabby non-profit forces trying to squeeze every ounce of volunteer-ism out of you before you shrug off their grasp at the end of your term. How anyone serves two terms is beyond me. In the VISTA job description (Volunteer assignment description, or VAD, which they really to refer to as VAD all the time, as in, "Lets look at your VAD to see how well you are doing your job". I want to tell them that no one gets to look at my VAD without at least taking me to dinner first!) it says something about how VISTA's are not guaranteed 9-5 jobs because many aspects of our VAD (see?) may require us to work nights or weekends. What this translates to is us never being able to say no. Ever. This is one of the reasons they encourage VISTAs to relocate, I feel. If you relocate you don't have friends or family or A LIFE. Well, guess what AmeriCorps? I do have all of these things. I have a life and you are not it.


Speaking of a life, this weekend we went to Little Rock, AR for D's little brother's wedding. Little Rock is an awesome town, and I was totally surprised by it. We stayed in a nice hotel downtown (thanks to D's parents) within walking distance of the river and found a good book store, a good vegetarian restaurant with gluten-free options, and an amazingly cool public park with this awesome playground that had underground tunnels and climbing rocks. The weather was awesome, if a little cold, and we spent Saturday morning at the Little Rock Zoo, shivering and taking pictures of bears. We love zoos (zooz?) and this one was awesome. I'm not sure how they did it (something in the water?) but so many of their animals seemed very aware of us, and even interacted with us a little bit. It is so fun to feel like you have a relationship with a gorilla.
D has this terrible habit of attempting to touch all of the animals in the zoo. Including bears. And bush dogs. He has had some incredible run ins with animals over the course of his life and it has built up this ridiculous confidence that I am afraid is going to get him mauled. He once befriended a sea lion in the wild and carried a hummingbird in his hand and so he is perfectly confident that he is Dr. Doolittle.
Our zoo visits end up with me saying, "Please don't do that! Please don't do that!" just over and over while D holds hands with monkeys.
At the Little Rock zoo, that moment happened with this guy. This is a Sun Bear. They are tree-dwelling bears who live mostly in Malaysia and other parts of South East Asia. They eat mostly roots and berries, but some insects and some small mammals. This one was leaning dramatically far over the abyss that separated us and sniffing intently.
Before this trip I would have said that I wasn't a very fearful person. I realize that being terrified of a mostly herbivorous arboreal bear is maybe ridiculous, but that is what happened. D, on the other hand, was leaning out as far as he could (which is pretty far. He's tall.) and stretching out his fairly long arms trying to touch this terrifying bear.

Seriously? It's a bear. Look at it's claws? Are you insane?

So yes. Someday I may lose him to a freak zoo mauling. And it will be all his own damn fault and I will have told him so. Geez.

Our weekend in Little Rock was incredibly fun. Full of laughter, and family, and food. Gorgeous weather, beautiful river views. And the only pictures I took were at the zoo. And of animals. I am awesome at documenting my life.

In other, sort of related news, at the rehearsal dinner in Little Rock I decided to splurge and eat a cookie. It was a wedding, after all. I have been completely gluten-free for two months now, and have seriously reduced my intake of corn, dairy, and sugar, though if you asked someone who actually eats with me (ahem, D, ahem), they would tell you that I am not very good with those last ones. In those two months my chronic eczema, which I have talked about on here before, was healing and starting to fade. I was really pleased with it and felt pretty good about appearing in pictures at the wedding. However, I ate a cookie on Friday night and woke up Saturday morning absolutely covered in bright red, stingy welts of eczema. Unbelievable. I had D take a picture of my arms on Monday, a full three days after to cookie eating, just so that I could have a "before" picture. Good gracious. I wore a sweater all day just so no one would feel the need to call the CDC. Still so red and so very everywhere. However, and this may seem ridiculous, I kind of feel like this was the reaction I needed to see to really commit to going totally gf. Up until this point I still hadn't been entirely sold on the idea. Nothing like severe discomfort to kick you in the pants.

So yesterday I went out an bought myself a digital kitchen scale. I am committing. I will learn how to bake gluten free. I will teach myself to cook. I will eat foods I am not allergic to and I will THRIVE. Damn it.

I am so tired of being sick.

So I will keep you updated, in case you are curious. Let us preemptively add my name to the list of gf success stories, shall we?


The Coles said...

loved this post!

i want to hear the full story of Drew befriending a sea lion!!!!

and I'm raising my glass to you saying, "You CAN do it! Yeah for being gluten-free and sick-free!"

Teegan said...

first, you are hilarious!
second, happy trails into the gluten free world! may all the gluten free jems show themself freely to you.

Reeve said...

"...while D holds hands with monkeys."

That's funny!

Amy said...

Awww. I like all of this.

Happy gluten-free baking!

We don't have an oven, and we haven't for awhile, which makes us grain-free, save for brown rice, or EXPENSIVE GFers, when we go to the GF bakery here downtown.