Lunch at Mt Lofty House with the AHARS hams. Looking out over three television aerials and the chef's vegetable gardens. Reassuring to see their spring onions, chard and lettuces setting seed just as mine are; tall and unruly, strong flavours, no longer the light taste of Spring.

Videoing the sewing at Lobethal. Shiny fabrics sliding under the templates as we cut.
14 lanterns emerge. More in progress. Solar LED spark inside fabric diamonds,
spiked into the ground or hung from a tree; something whimsical.

Tomorrow back to painting or gardening.
Perhaps getting these logos to work.

I had a decision point yesterday where I could have become an alcoholic. I had a small glass of wine and wanted more. I am rereading Claudia Black's It will never happen to me, about the way that children cope to survive in an alcoholic family. It was published in 1981 and I think that I read it that year.

I am the eldest child and the "responsible one". The "little parent". Very, very capable. And I am the one who acts out.

That leaves the "adjuster" and the "placator" for other siblings. Though all of the roles can be shared and traded by all.

There were a number of triggers that made me want to crawl in to the bottle. I feel that I have failed in a relationship, in a big way, and will go on failing. "Responsible ones" don't do failure very well. I am dating someone and I don't want to enable or be the enablee and I am afraid. I am afraid of failure there too. Yet, it's the healthiest and most intimate relationship that I've had. I keep testing it, because of course, trust is an issue. And lastly, I took the "are you an alcoholic" quiz in the back of the book. I answered a qualified yes, or sometimes, to three questions: it said "you are definitely an alcoholic." I said, "Bullshit." And then I thought about it and that you don't have to drink to be an alcoholic and then....

.....I wanted to crawl into the bottle. I wanted to drink the whole thing. I knew that if I did I would not be able to sing in the choral concert that night and I would stay in the bottle and I would hurt my daughter and my family and fail to open my medical practice and lose the relationship and all sorts of relationships.....

.....and I still wanted the anesthesia. Freedom. Darkness. Oblivion. Even being sick as a dog, which I am if I have more than two drinks. I get sick on two drinks if I am too tired.

I wrote a poem about wanting to crawl in the bottle.

I got dressed for the concert.

My daughter called from a birthday party. She had started feeling sick and I went immediately to rescue her. I put her straight to bed at 6:00 pm.

My partner showed up with soup and I ate the soup, feeling cared for.

No time for makeup.

I got in the car and went to the concert and sang. The orchestra was wonderful and festive and the chorus was dressed in black with Christmas scarves or shirts or vests. The audience gave us a standing ovation after we sang. They loved it.

I made the right choice. But it is hard for me not to sympathize with those who choose the bottle. And it felt like a near thing.

Blessings on the season and tears for the lost. One by one, let them be found.

Life is the strangest thing. The other night I laid down on the couch with the rest of my family after I got home from work. My oldest daughter wanted to make cookies, I didn't but I couldn't think of a good reason to deny her request. After finding the simplest sugar cookie recipe my oldest daughter gathered the ingredients together while my younger daughter read recipes that she thought would be good. Listening to your children read can be an enlightening experience, especially if they have expressive voices. When my daughter read about adding walnuts to chocolate chip cookies her nose wrinkled up and she said 'eww'.

How much people understand about food allergies depends on their ability to comprehend the potential severity of an anaphylactic reaction. On November 17, we went out for my niece's birthday, two bites into my pancakes I could tell that I had ingested something my body did not like. What people should do (and very often don't) is call 911 and alert the paramedics that someone has eaten something they are allergic to. During a conversation with my former allergist he explained that an allergic reaction can rapidly become life threatening, he asked if I had an EpiPen and when I told him I had one at home but not in my purse he told me that was fine as long as I could hold my breath for the six minutes it took an EMT to arrive.

Making cookies with my girls turned out much better than I expected it to. The recipe turned out well, we were able to decorate the cookies and overall it was good, clean, quality family time. Yesterday I had to work, explaining why I am frustrated with the people I work with would take multiple daylogs so I'll skip that for now but by the time I got home I was physically tired and mentally wired. Fueled by her earlier success and contrary to her mother's instructions my oldest daughter started a baking project that had some unintended consequences.

Earlier this summer I ate a peanut butter sandwich over at my sister's place. I had a severe allergic reaction to a bite of brownie that I had eaten and after talking with a friend of mine who is a registered dietician she mentioned that people with nut allergies ought to avoid chocolate since it frequently comes into contact with nuts. Radically changing your diet when you're not sure what items you can safely eat becomes more complicated when you're trying to grocery shop for others in your family who can eat almost anything. I am allergic to shellfish, my oldest daughter is allergic to all seafood, my youngest daughter could probably eat anything and my husband loves walnut studded cookies.

The other night I helped my daughter with her peanut butter cupcakes. Surprisingly they turned out well despite her not following the recipe exactly. After supper I made brown sugar frosting for the cupcakes. It had a nice caramel flavor and since I was leery of eating a peanut butter cupcake I poured the leftover icing over a small diced apple. My husband had to go to work, after I got the kids in bed I sat down, logged on to my computer and started checking my Facebook messages. A writeup that I've been working on was up on my scratch pad when I realized that my ears were itching.

Not long after that my mouth started tingling. I felt a peculiar tightness in my chest and my throat felt as if I would be unable to swallow. Normally I pop a couple of Benadryl and wait the reaction out. Last night things progressed so rapidly I went to the bathroom for the EpiPen. After jabbing it into my outer thigh I called our local hospital to determine what I should do next. Unfortunately the triage nurse was unable to give me medical advice over the phone so I started calling people in my family. I used my cell phone to call my neighbor. She told me to take some deep breaths, epinepherine racing through your blood stream makes you jittery which is fine but I felt like I couldn't breathe which made me really nervous.

I've never thought that I would be afraid to die. I'm afraid of dying of cancer or other long drawn out painful illnesses. I tend to be melodramatic which means that when there is a real emergency people tend not to take me seriously. Last night I wasn't exactly afraid to die. I was afraid I was going to die and maybe that doesn't sound like two different things but to me there is a distinction. Since June I've had five or six allergic reactions, they're different than the kind I've had before, typically they aren't as intense yet they scare me because I can't always identify the trigger.

Cooking as a means of therapeutic escape is no longer fun for me anymore. Seemingly innocuous ingredients reside next to those that could potentially kill me. Regardless of how careful I am in the kitchen other people live in my house. Not all of these people understand that an improperly cleaned knife which was used to spread peanut butter could give me a major medical problem. The other night my husband told the girls that I couldn't eat the cupcakes they were making. They looked good, they smelled great but I stayed away because I wasn't sure what effect they would have on my body.

At this point I don't care what kind of dietary changes my family needs to make because I do not want to risk having another attack like the one I had last night. The allergist I used to go to is a jerk. I have never liked him and I made up my mind not to go back. When I was in college I used to get allergy shots at Children's Hospital. Now that I work near there I want to go back to one of the doctors I used to see. Technically he's a pediatrician who specializes in allergy and immunology but I'm hoping that he'll agree to see me after I explain my situation.

Right now I don't care how much it costs to find out what I'm allergic to. I don't care that I will have to take cash from my savings account to pay a nationally ranked specialist. I was planning on using the money I've saved so I could use it on a place of my own but it recently occurred to me that if I'm not alive to move saving the money will not have benefited me regardless. In closing I'd like to remind people that food allergies are a serious, life threatening condition. It's not funny, it can happen quickly and people can die from them. Please take this issue into consideration no matter how annoying it is to prepare special food for guests that you may be entertaining this holiday season. Cheers.

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