Greetings, fellow babies.  Yes, it’s been a while.  Life has been throwing me more than the usual amount of curve balls, but I am still here and still swinging.  Wow, two baseball metaphors in a row and I’m not even a big fan!  Must be the disaster that are the Cubs, weighing on my mind.  I don’t know why I expected a different outcome – but then the very definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  And we all know I’m crazy.

Anyhoo…  Today’s post is about changes.  I don’t know about you but I hate them.  I like a certain amount of consistency in my life.  That’s probably the result of having grown up as an Air Force brat, moving every year or two, having to start over someplace new.  Now… I avoid new like the plague.

Or at least, I imagine that I do.  That doesn’t explain why I feel the need to completely rearrange my living room every couple of years or why I’m constantly trying to find a new route to the Evil Day Job to shake up the tedium (or avoid traffic snarls).

Some changes, however, are decidedly unpleasant.  Recently I’ve been having to change my diet.  Now, I don’t mean going to Jenny Craig or only eating beet soup – although being a short round Irish woman, I could always stand to lose a few pounds.  Okay… more than a few.  No, I’m talking about eliminating foods that I used to love that now seem not to love me so much.  I’m calling it the “No CH Diet”.  And I am decidedly unhappy about it.

Come back, Muse!  Come back!

Come back, Muse! Come back!

If you’ve read any of my Stalking the Muse articles, you probably know that one of the ways I attract my Muse, retrieving her from her extended sojourns in Bermuda, is with Her favorite snack food.  CHeetos®.  Ah, the wonders of orange, cheesy goodness.  It’s the only snack brand that has actually coined its own word – ‘cheedle’, meaning the orange stuff that you scrape off your fingers with your teeth after you’ve eaten some.  I can actually wax poetic about those crunchy little orange tidbits.  But now there are apparently two ingredients in this snack that suddenly don’t agree with me:  the food-coloring annatto and *gasp* CHeese.

Now, remember.  I am a short, round woman of IRISH descent.  CHeese is in my blood, right alongside potatoes.  I don’t know how to make a meal without either of those ingredients.  But suddenly CHeese is off the menu (thank you very much, evil gods of dairy!).  Fortunately, potatoes are still okay.  I think I’d curl up and die if I couldn’t eat those!

Next on the no-no list turns out to be CHocolate.  Because CHocolate has dairy in it.  How on earth am I supposed to do Nano this year without either CHeetos® or CHocolate?  That’s… that’s crazy talk!  The Muse will NEVER come back from Bermuda.  She’ll lay there on the beach, being served Midori Melon Margaritas by hot young men, feeling the whoosh whoosh whoosh of the surf on her dainty, manicured toes and I’ll be left here, in Chicago, in winter, barricaded in my suburban garret (oh, okay, my corner of the spare room) burning old manuscript pages to keep warm because I’ve been creatively abandoned!

No CHeetos®?  No CHeese?  No CHocolate?  How can I live like this??

So I made some CHanges.  And then discovered a whole bunch of other things that my suddenly finicky digestive system doesn’t like either.  Caffeine.  Lettuce.  Gluten.  Very shortly now, I’m going to be left with a diet of cardboard and grass clippings.  *sigh*  My fervent hope is that once I cut out all dairy for a while, and give my system a bit of a restart, that the other foods can come back on line.  The thought of Nano without CHeetos®, CHeese, CHocolate OR caffeine leaves me in a cold sweat.  At least give me the caffeine.

So I’m lighting a candle to the evil gods of dairy, being kind to cows and giving myself 10 days to detox.  If you wouldn’t mind, could you put in a good word for me too?  Meanwhile, I’ll be here, jonesing for a cappuccino with a side of baked brie and some salted caramel dark chocolate.

Illegitimi non carborundum!