There’s nothing like starting your day at o’dark early by opening the garage door, getting in your car, and, as you start to fumble with your phone to take a peek at your favorite weather app, hear your teenage daughter say, “Ummm . . . why is there a taxi in our driveway?”

Because it was o’dark early, and because I, once again, had awoken with a migraine brewing, what I heard was, “Ummm . . . why is there . . . uhhh . . . Taxi in our driveway?”


“Taxi is in our driveway???” I thought, as pictures of goofy, happy Irish Setter running excitedly back and forth behind my car, hoping I would get out to greet him, flashed in my mind.  “But he died over 30 years ago.  This makes no sense.  No sense at all.”  Then I saw the headlights of the car parked directly behind me, blocking my way out of the garage.

Sure.  A taxi in the driveway makes much more sense than Taxi in the driveway.  When I was 14 years old, and Taxi, the most ridiculous dog ever to run the face of the earth, died, I prayed for quite some time that God would give me a sign that he was okay and truly was in a better place.  In church, we talk all the time about what happens to people after they die, but nobody really mentions dogs.  They also don’t talk about cats, and we had a cat who died when I was 10.  I was sure he was going to hell.  He used to pick fights with neighborhood dogs and lie under trees with nesting mamma birds just to ruffle their feathers.  He would sit in the hallway of our home and dare our Irish Setters, who were terrified of him, to pass.  He bit me once, but only once, and we got along really well all of the rest of the time.  He would eat catnip my mother had planted and lie, completely stoned, in the front yard.  My ten-year-old self was so afraid he was going to hell.

I never thought Taxi, the ridiculous dog whom we loved ridiculously,  was going to hell, and by 14 I figured that cat wasn’t, either, but I also wasn’t sure dogs could go to heaven.  So I would pray that God would let me know he was okay.  Specifically, I would pray that I could look out and see him, his spirit, running one last time.  That never happened, of course.  I never saw him that one last time, but when my fourteen-year-old daughter muttered in a mystified tone about a taxi in our driveway at o’dark early on another migraine addled morning, I was suddenly 14 again, and I thought, for the briefest portion of a second, that Taxi was running happy circles behind my car in the dark and the rain.  How much happier would those circles be once he found out we have horses he could run with?

But, yes, a taxi in the driveway made much more sense than Taxi in the driveway.  Except?  I hadn’t called for one.  Currently, we have more cars than drivers, so why would I?  Though the fact that we even have a taxi service or two in this country town isn’t new to me, I still find it mystifying, which just added to my shock that one of their cars was sitting behind me, headlights shining into my blocked car.

Without getting out of my car, I closed the garage door.

Probably a normal person (is there such a thing anymore) would have walked out in the dark and the rain to ask the taxi driver why he was here and explain to him that nobody at this location needed a taxi, but I, once upon a time, lived in a high-crime-rate city for a little too long, and my current house sits a bit far back from the road, and it was dark.  If having lived through crime isn’t enough to justify my overly-cautious behavior, then we’ll chalk it up to the horror movies I watched as a teenager.  I’m not a virgin at this point, so my chances of being stabbed by a homicidal cab driver are way higher than they were back then.  Whatever.

I went in the house, figuring the cab driver would eventually come to the door, which would cause a whole lot of dog barking (Wulfric, much like the first dog we ever had, has a wonderfully large bark that belies his current actual size), and I would holler through the unopened door that he was at the wrong house.  After waiting for what seemed suspiciously too long, I watched the taxi go slowly down my driveway, then down the street, down the hill, and out of sight.

Crisis averted.  Nobody was stabbed by a bored, homicidal, country cab driver.  No boys were awoken by doorbell ringing and dog barking.  No ghostly Irish Setters were running happy circles on my rain-soaked driveway, though that wouldn’t have been a crisis, really.  The adrenaline rush seemed to speed up and heighten the effects of the caffeinated Tylenol I took for the migraine, which was helpful, because I got back in the car and life went on.


For All Three People Who Care: An Update on Migraines, Hormones, and My Really Limited Diet

In my spare moments I have been slowly re-reading Gone With the Wind for my book club.  But once I am finished with it?  Next up is Your Hidden Food Allergies are Making You Fat by Rudy Rivera, M.D. and Roger Davis Deutsch (you can find it cheap on

I am particularly interested in this book because it is written by the makers of the ALCAT test – you know, that test that said I have food sensitivities out the wazoo and told me there are more things I can’t eat than things I can, and then divided those things I can eat into a four-day rotation.  Yeah, that one.

So I’ve been on that diet very strictly since we came back from Florida in mid February and this is what I have to say about it so far:

1. That stuff about me not being able to eat beef but being able to eat veal?  Must. be. a. typo.  I ate veal once, and I felt awful afterwards.  I mean, besides the awfulness of the guilt over eating a baby (I also ate lamb once – I now know what guilt tastes like), I just felt bloated and . . . icky.  You really don’t want me to go there in detail.

2. As of this morning, I have lost 12 pounds.  I now weigh 2 pounds less than I did pre any pregnancy.  This means I am 8 pounds over my wedding weight and 6 pounds over the weight I was all four years of high school.  Of course, while the numbers are great and make me want to party (actually, not – we’ve had enough parties lately), the grim reality is that I have birthed three children and grown old (don’t tell me that 40 is the new 20), so everything is still redistributed in a much more dough-like and dimply fashion.  But I’m not complaining!  Much.

3. I almost never crave anything anymore, and when I do?  I am usually craving something I am allowed to eat, just not on that particular day.  Like yesterday?  I really wanted grapes.  Yesterday was not grape day.  Luckily, today is.  But the sugar cravings and the chocolate cravings? 99.9% gone.  Additionally, I’m just not as hungry as I used to be.  I know this is because my blood sugar is no longer wildly swinging up and down like a drunk monkey on a trapeze (which reminds me of a story that a friend told me about a couple she knows who has a “special” swing, but that is really off-topic).

4. I have not had a migraine in over a month.  This is a HUGE milestone, since I always get at least one a month (and sometimes more).  But last month, when I would normally be asking my children to stop breathing so loudly?  I got nothing.  Not even a hint of any kind of a headache even trying to start.  Just. nothing.  I think this is partly due to the diet and partly due to the fact that I tweaked my hormones in a completely different way (which reminds me, I still need to call my Dr. and let him know what I did).  Whatever it was, it was amazing.

Like I said in an earlier post, I’ve read about the ALCAT test from the perspective of both supporters and naysayers, so, though I really was excited to do it, I was still a bit skeptical.  I’m becoming less so.  I know you’re thinking, “But once the six months is up and you stop the diet, you’ll gain the weight right back, and the headaches will come back!”  And?  You’d be right.  Except I don’t think I’m going to go off the diet after six months.  I think I may modify it – shake up the rotation a bit, have a monthly “treat” (that doesn’t involve peanuts, vanilla, oysters, or lima beans) – but I don’t want to ever go back to eating like I did before, even though that seemed restrictive at the time.

A week or so ago I was sitting in front of the t.v. while making a bunch of tissue paper flowers.  I honestly never watch Oprah (I swear, I’ve blogged about it every time, so you all know how often that is), but Oprah was on (probably a rerun) and her whole staff was doing some week-long vegan challenge.  At the end, there was one guy talking about how he’ll probably never go back to eating meat because he lost 12 pounds that week.  I immediately thought, “Well, you probably have a beef sensitivity.  Or chicken.  Or whatever meat you eat frequently.”  While other people on her staff lost weight, nobody lost that much.  This was yet another confirmation of something I realized 10 years ago:  everybody’s body is different.  We all need the same basic nutrients, but we all process and react to different foods differently.  That is why every time you turn around some television show or magazine article or internet link is telling you about a NEW, AMAZING diet.  Some diets are amazing for some people, and others are amazing for other people.  And in case you were wondering?  Deep fried Twinkies are amazing for nobody.  But for now?  I feel like I’ve discovered what is amazing for me, so I’ll stick with it.

Okay, on top of all that, I was asked to teach a class at a church activity last month about the importance of reading nutritional labels.  I thought all three of you might be interested in some of what I found as I prepared for that, so I’m going to copy and past part of my notes here.  I’ll copy and paste the rest of them in a different blog post since this one is getting so long already.  The theme of the evening was The Three Little Piggies.  My class was This Little Piggy Went to Market, so I focused on some of the Big Bad Wolves found in our food.  First up?  High fructose corn syrup.  Good grief, people, I hope you don’t believe those stupid ads about eating it in moderation.  You have to work hard and be very diligent to only eat that garbage in moderation.  Anyway, my notes:

High Fructose Corn Syrup


High fructose corn syrup is commercially produced. It starts as corn syrup, a liquid sweetener extracted from corn, and is then chemically altered by enzymatic processes to create a different balance of monosaccharides (simple sugars) that that found in ordinary corn syrup. IT IS NOT NATURAL!

In laboratory tests, HFCS has led to weight gain, abnormal increases in body fat (more so than from a high fat diet), especially in the abdomen, and a rise in triglycerides (circulating blood fats). The laboratory subjects who were give sucrose (sugar) rather than HFCS did not experience these results.

Excess fructose is metabolized to produce fat, while glucose (sucrose) is largely processed for energy, or stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles.

Fructose molecules in HFCS are free and unbound, ready for absorption. Every fructose molecule in sucrose (sugar) is bound to a corresponding glucose molecule and must go through an extra metabolic step before it can be utilized. CONTRARY TO WHAT THE COMMERICALS SAY, IT IS NOT JUST LIKE SUGAR. YOUR BODY PROCESSES, ABSORBS, AND STORES IT DIFFERENTLY.

HFCS was introduced into the American food supply about 40 years ago. Since then, obesity rates have gone from about 15% of all Americans to about 33% of all Americans.

Google A Sweet Problem: Princeton researchers find that high-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain.

That’s the end of my notes, but seriously?  Read that study.  I know it was done with rats and not humans, but still.  And if you’re as old as I am, you don’t need those statistics because you can remember.  By no means am I saying that HFC is solely responsible for all of our societal health woes, but I do believe there is good evidence to support that it is heavily responsible for many of them.  Next time I’ll share my notes on trans fats, glutamates, and nitrates and nitrites. 

I know, all three of you, along with Tewt the Newt, are swooning with anticipation.