On Christmas Eve, I walked to the local food store and picked up a few things for Christmas dinner.  On the way back to the apartment I met a man on the street selling roses.  I asked: Qunta? (how much?) and he said Trinta, (30, which equals $7.75).  Now I didn’t know it it was 30 Reals for the whole bunch but decided to purchase some.  I gave him 30 and he handed me the whole bunch.  I smiled slightly like I expected to get the whole bunch and told him:  Obrigado e feliz natal  (thank you and Merry Christmas)

I will tell you that they lasted only a few days but I did have 13 beautiful roses on my table during Christmas, which is all I wanted.  And I remembered, that as I stopped and purchased these roses, the little guy in the back of my mind commented, This is what Terese would have done.

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A few weeks ago, I gleefully received a much anticipated bread machine in the mail, along with a bundle of bread mixes to use in it.  Notice how shiny and new it is. We had a machine in Turkey, but gave it away because it was a 220 volt machine and we knew we would never use it again.

Now, since living in Russia, I’ve had a craving for the black Russian bread – chernyy khleb that we called “chorny bread”.  It is a dark pumpernickel bread with garlic butter and just a touch of coriander.  I know this, because that is what Terese said it was.

So, the first pack of bread I made was the Russian black bread and ate a few slices.  At the time, I had neither garlic butter nor coriander, but it was delightful.  Afterwards, I made some honey-something bread, and it too was amazing.

Then, something bizarre took place.

My innards rebelled in such a way, I thought I would die.  Die, I thought I would.  It was not a pretty picture.  The only thing nice about it, was the flatulence.  For those male readers, you will understand that men do not mind the act of farting, especially if they grew up with an older sister.

But a dark cloud began to roll over me as I realized (to my horror), that I may have become gluten intolerant in my old age.  It took several days for the symptoms to subside, during which time I ordered several bread packs of gluten free breads.  I also found the shelf at the grocery store that has specialty breads and purchased a few miniature loaves of pão sem glúten – bread without gluten.

The gluten free breads were nice and satisfying, but I still did not know for certain that I had suddenly acquired this … deficiency.  But I can tell you, that since that time period I have gradually been testing the waters (sort of speak) to see if the symptoms would return.  Yesterday, I ate at the Olive Garden with a lunch loaded with gluten and so far …

I will either die, or not die.  If you do not hear from me again, I have kicked the bucket.    D.