I have a sore throat. I’m trying to convince myself that it’s allergy-related, and it could be, but suspecting that it’s my own damn fault does not make me feel any less sorry for myself.

Nor, unfortunately, does it make me any more inclined to avoid the foods that I’m allergic to. Cheese & chocolate are worth a little suffering. If it wasn’t Sunday, I’d head over to Trader Joe’s, in fact, to buy fresh rice noodles to make myself the most delicious crab pasta dish — crab sauteed in browned butter (allergen!), with lemon zest, garlic, lemon juice, white wine (allergen!), lots of cilantro, and served over rice (allergen!) noodles. I made that recipe up last week when my friend S sent me a couple of cans of Dungeness crab meat and it was so good that I’m still thinking about it.

But I also know that a year into my AIP experience, I’ve gotten so cavalier that I’m losing the health benefits I gained. Pain influences my choices too many days lately. Would I be more inclined to write today if my throat and hands didn’t hurt? Maybe. Maybe I’ll go eat some sauerkraut and convince myself that it has enough virtue to balance out the goat cheese.

Apart from the sore throat, aches-and-pains, it’s a grey, rainy, bleak day, further reason to think browsing the internet and/or watching television and/or reading bits and pieces of old books is more appealing than writing. My usual techniques for being productive on grey days all revolve around caffeine (not AIP-friendly, of course) and sugar (ditto). And I am abruptly reminded that I drank a real latte — a pumpkin spice latte, in fact! — on Friday, which is a whole bunch of real dairy. That’s sort of comforting, since it means I might still be able to continue including goat cheese in my diet as long as I avoid cow milk. It was delicious, and maybe even worth it.

Friday was actually a spectacular day after I got over being gloomy about the state of the world. I got Z a new pink basketball at Target (and myself a pumpkin spice latte and a pair of capri jeans for $7.50) and we spent the afternoon in the pool. Much splashing & floating, much throwing of the ball, much, much sun. I wish I knew how to capture the memory of that day in a way that could really replicate the physical sensations of my love for my dogs, the affection and joy and happiness of playing with them when the sun sparkles on the water and the water itself is pure smooth comfort on my skin. A writer ought to be able to, but I suspect when I reread this two years from now or whenever, I’ll think — huh, must have been a nice day with the dogs — without really having the slightest recollection of what the day was like.

But B does these little tentative jumps into the pool these days — he wants his front paws on my shoulder before he’ll step into the pool, and then once in the water, he swims delicate little circles around me, always returning to sit on my arm, and then paddles straight on to the steps and out. He’s baby weight — 14 pounds — and it reminds me of those long-gone days of taking toddler R into the water, always alert. On Friday, it was so warm that he didn’t bother to immediately rush to roll himself dry, just wandered around wet until the next time he wanted to come in again. And bark, bark, bark if I go under. I think he’d really prefer it if I only ever stood, never swam, in the water.

And Z was so happy about her new ball. Her doggie smile, open-mouthed and panting, tongue hanging out, while she stands on the steps of the pool and watches the ball float away from her is the purest, clearest, most joyful expression. I wonder if I have a picture. Well, this is from the beach two years ago, but it’s as close as I can come. Doggie joy.

Zelda at the beach