Category Archives: Photography

Living with Celiac Disease

Gluten Free Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Butter Cream. *see end of post
Four years ago I had figured out I was gluten intolerant and had tried to avoid gluten. A recent routine endoscopy showed damaged celia and the biopsies confirmed I am a Celiac.  The doctors were perplexed, the tissue samples confirmed Celiac, but my blood work was perfect. Four years of Gluten Free eating resulted in perfect blood work.
I had an appointment with a dietician. It was there I learned the dangers of being Celiac. She gave me a full folder of facts, details and information.
Celiac Disease is life-long. The celia never grow back but they do heal to the point they begin to processes nutrients. My tolerance is zero, so even cross contamination such as double dipping a knife in the peanut butter or jam to spread onto regular bread does cause me to react if I use a clean knife in the same peanut butter or jam jar to spread on a slice of GF bread. Each exposure takes a several days or weeks for the injures to the celia to heal enough to begin processing nutrients. During those days, I am freezing cold and exhausted.
Fresh Berries from the garden with real freshly whipped cream.*
One of the things in the folder of stuff is a list of all the names of foods that contain gluten. Many are simply different styles and types of wheat and different processes that end up  gluten of a different name.
NOT ALLOWED IN ANY FORMWheat (einkorn, durum or duram, faro, graham, kamut, semolina, spelt, freekeh, bulgur), Barley, Rye, Triticale, Malt, malt flavoring, malt vinegar (are made from barley). Barley contains the highest percentage of gluten of all the grains.
Beer is out, wine and distilled spirits even wheat based whiskeys are fine. The gluten molecules are too big to make it through the distillation process.
Wheat Free is not safe, Certified Gluten Free is. If in doubt do NOT eat it.
Butter Cream Frosted GF Banana Cake*
It goes on to say labels must be read every time foods are purchased. Manufacturers can change ingredients at any time. There is a huge list of additives that may or may not be GF. That list includes: modified food starch, starch, dextrin. If it does not say certified Gluten Free do not eat without calling the manufacturer to inquire about the root source of the starch. ie: Tapioca Starch and Corn Starch are safe, of course.
Eating Gluten Free as a way of losing weight, may be trendy. It won’t hurt you but it is not a disease and you can eat it anytime it is inconvenient to go hungry.
These two websites have tons of information. which is a Gluten Intolerance organization in Auburn WA. Also Be wary of simple internet searches without verifying the source. The mayo clinic has info. Canada has a really good web site with lots of really good information.
Chocolate Studded Merengue Stacked with Whipped Cream*
Celiacs are supposed to carry a card in their wallet and even a health bracelet identifying Celiac. An emergency hospital stay, from a car accident for instance, complete with typical hospital fare of crackers and pudding could be the last nail in the coffin… fun, huh?
Gluten Free is healthy because it focuses on fresh fruit, vegetables, beans, lentils, fish and some lean meat. It is no more healthy than any other diet that includes sweets, cakes, pastas, sodas and other rich foods. I focus on healthy with great taste, but sometimes a special occasion calls for a special treat. Four of those are shown above.
* Learning to cook GF has been an adventure. Instead of trying to mimic the taste of  “normal” food, we have learned to appreciate a new world of food we had not known. The bottom line is it has to taste great. It needs to be something guests will enjoy as well. Slowly I am developing special occasion recipes. Sometimes a great desert can be as simple as fresh berries topped with freshly whipped cream and a sprig of mint. Sometimes the occasion calls for something spectacular, even a multi layer cake. The deserts in the photos are my GF recipes and were served for special occasions. The merengue is naturally GF and without the chocolate and the whipped cream it is not too unhealthy.
Cheers to healthy eating,

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Filed under Celiac Disease, Food, Gluten Free, Health, Photography, Random, Words to Ponder

Test Result: Negative for Pertussis

Many of you commented on my previous post, some good, some bad. The good news is the test returned a negative result. The bad news the test is only 50% accurate.

The good news, by the third day on the antibiotics I was feeling better. The bad news is I still have a cough. This is a picture of how I feel. Kind of squinty-eyed from being so tired from not sleeping well with a non-stop cough.

Bear-ly Me. I'm sick and feel like a bear.

Bear-ly Me.

The best news is the number of people who have thanked me for sharing my story. They have already gotten their boosters and are spreading the word about how important it is. The vaccinations we received and completed at age six are no longer protecting us. Be proactive and get vaccinated. Protect yourself and your loved ones. Hey, be a good sport and protect the passengers on your next plane flight, or on the train, or at the restaurant, the grocery store, or where you pick up your dry cleaning.

As of Monday I am no longer contagious, if I ever was. I do wish I would bounce back to great health quickly. In the mean-time I want to share with you a happy photo. Pardon me, but I have punned a great artist and call this piece Starry Light.

Bright, colorful star lights, Starry Lights is the name of this piece.

Starry Night

Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight.

Wish I may, wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight.

I’m wishing all of you good dreams and good health.




Filed under Health, Photography, Random

Happy! Hoppy! and Humbled!

Many of you know I also am committed to the Post a Photo a Day Challenge that is initiated by Word Press. One of the blogs I follow is a Photo Contest where both amateur and professional photographers from around the world submit incredible photos from gorgeous and exotic places…

I will get back to that in a minute. But my Totally Random Happy thoughts want to share the Hoppy photo first.

I want you to know that I know where Easter Eggs really, truly come from. They are laid by an adorable pink girl bunny. In this photo she appears to be counting the eggs as she lays them. Here is the proof.

This is where Easter Eggs come from.

Now back to the rest of the story. In the many years of my passionate obsession with taking photos I have never submitted any of my work in any competition except once and it took second place.  I have not been anywhere exotic or out the country in a couple of years but had and idea for an interesting photo taken close to home. I sent it off, and pretty much forgot it.

Today when I opened my email I saw the title of the winning photo that was chosen for today.

You can check it out here:

And this is why I am HappyHoppy and very HUMBLED today.

Egg dying is at our house is tomorrow and two extremely excited grand-kids are coming. Sometime between work today and “eggs” tomorrow I have to clean the house and get the family dinner ready. I can’t wait for everyone to be here. I love any excuse to cook for everyone and for all of us to be together.

Wishing you all a blessed Easter.



Filed under Decorating, Family, Food, Holiday, Photography

Birds on a Line and the Moon

Pigeons settle in for the night's perched in a row on the power lines.

Many of you may have already stumbled across my 366Photo A Day WordPress challenge at  the ShezPhotoz blog. Because I am an avid photographer, I take lots of photos a day. Posting only one is a challenge. So as not to waste some photos that are best shown as a gallery, I will be posting some of my favorites here. These were taken last week.

Additionally from time to time I will pull some of my favorites out of my archives. You will notice that I have used different signatures on my photoz. I just want to assure you that if they are signed SL Schildan, Street Light Studio, (same initials) SLS Photography or are scanned and have a hand written signature of Shari Schildan, or variations, rest assured they are all photos I personally took. My signature has changed over the years. Most recently just last week I discovered someone else was using my ShezPhoto signature(with a space which can’t be used in web addresses). To reduce any confusion I went from ShezPhoto to Shezphotoz. They are all me. I told you I was random, but finally believe I have a lasting signature. No more chameleon changes for Shez.

Here is a series of photos I took that same evening I captured the birds on a line. It is not often we are treated to a kaleidoscope  of beauty in one half hour. I was lucky to be able to capture at least a part of the beauty.

As the afternoon clouds finally parted the moon was low on the horizon against a pale blue sky.

The moon played peek-a-boo in an out of the clouds. It was not always possible to get a great shot from a moving car, but a few turned out nicely.

As the clouds rolled and roiled and were just beginning to be tinged with pink, I captured the moon peeking through once again.

Then the clouds took over the show arriving like pink cotton candy.

The clouds become more intense. The show continues

The show intensified and the colors became vivid.

Sunset began as the sun slide down past the horizon, leaving one last low cloud to reflect the beauty.

As the sky darkened and the rain began again, the moon wanted one more chance to shine. It appeared for a brief half second before the storm ruled.

Please let me know what you think of the photoz. It was a gorgeous show.




March 18, 2012 · 10:29 am

Weather a “Safe” Topic

I always hear that the weather is a safe topic, but the news I keep reading is that our weather is anything but safe. Weather patterns around the world have shifted. It’s been blamed by everything that has happened. I am not going into any ideas of why the change, any and all or a combination could explain it.

Or it could just be the way things have always been on planet earth as we read of heat and hurricanes, volcano eruptions and violent windstorms, and ice ages with endless winters all occurring long before modern man.

So today I promise not to complain about our endless winter of last year when our tomatoes came on in August and were ready to pick in September. We had a short but beautiful summer that started at the end of August and lasted for six weeks.

There is evidence we are in a similar pattern this year. The Indian Plum which usually blooms in our yard in mid-January is just now appearing, six weeks late like last year.

Indian Plum, the first thing that blooms in our yard is six-weeks behind schedule. The leaves are the clusters reaching up, the flower clusters hang down and will be covered in tiny white blooms by tomorrow afternoon if we have another warm sunny day.

I went out with my camera phone this morning to snap a few photos of the earth reawakening. Proof that spring is about to pop.

Blueberries getting ready to bloom

Azalea buds are popping

Purple Periwinkle pops out of the pine needles to greet the bright sun.

Daffodils buds swell by the backyard steps

Leaves unfurl in the tree tops. They are much too high up for me to see. It was a fun surprise to discover their reflection in the water. Such a cool way to view the world high overhead.

The hazelnut catkins are dropping, the leaves are popping and the water iris emerge by the pond

The water lily leaves emerge from the water red, rolled and on red stems. These have just reached the surface and typically will stand six to 10 inches high before they uncurl. As they gather sunlight they lose their red color and turn the familiar deep shiny green floating on the surface.

The red leafed plum is leafing out and the tiny clusters of deep burgundy beads will soon pop into dainty pink blossoms.

I won’t complain that we have had so much rain and so little sun. I will be thankful we have had no tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanoes, tsunamis, or earth quakes. We are the lucky ones.

So that’s what’s new in our yard this beautiful late winter day.

Where did you find beauty today?


Filed under Nature, Photography, Random, The Great Outdoors

Run. It’s Another Grandmother Brag

It’s no secret I’m nutty over my grandkids. It is written into the rules and code book for grandmothers and I’m just doing my job.

Some of you know Sweet Hubs and I and our daughter flew to Denver to spend the weekend with our granddaughter and her mother. It was her final home game and the last day of games for Colorado College’s Gym. A new athletic center is under construction and the gym was scheduled to be gutted on Monday.

Three Seniors Honored

I thrust my camera into the hand of one of the Team Dad’s. With a 2 minute lesson in using the camera he bravely took on the task of filming the ceremony and snapping a few pictures. The team members are wearing pink tee shirts for breast cancer awareness. The senior women took their’s off for the ceremony. In the front row flanked by team mates is Jordy Stephensen #25 with her mother and father, Jenny Knapp #11 with her mom and dad. Next is Sweet Hubs, me, Becky Luetjen #2 with her mom (our daughter Lee). It was sweet of Becky to bend way down so she wouldn’t tower over her elders. 😉

Colorado College Women won their game. Becky came to sit with us afterward and didn’t really want me to take a photo, after all she was hot, sweaty, and devoid of any makeup. It was a coincidence that she and her mom were both wearing the same color.

Becky and Lee

After this a group of future basketball players came over to the CC team and asked to have their shirts signed. The ladies sweetly obliged.

Here's a pen, Becky.

Many signatures

Two very happy future players

These two sweeties just couldn’t stop smiling after their shirts were signed. They were very happy to pose for a photo.

We had a fabulous weekend to celebrate Becky’s 13 year commitment to basketball. We came back with some great photos and memories. Becky is the hardest working person I know and deserves any and honors that come her way.

Now to validate my claim that she is awesome, I submit proof right here:

Honest, there were no bribes, I do not even know any of the people who made this decision.




Filed under Family, Food, Photography, Random

The Bond Grandparent + Grandchildren

It truly seems grandchildren are more awesome even than our kids were. It’s also true that they do not give we grandparents much “flack.” We are accused of spoiling them, but the parents a doing a good job of the “spoiling them rotten” detail. After all the original little ones arrived we did not know how to be parents. We used them as our lab rats and they were our experimental practice. We learned from our own kids how we could do a better job. They survived. We survived. They turned into wonderful adults and somewhere along the line we became acutely aware that no matter what kind of parents any of the kids we knew had, by the time they graduated from high school, there were no “binkies”, not one still clung to a “blanky,” sucked their thumb, or ran when they had to ceremoniously walk . They could dress themselves, fix or find something to eat, go to bed without nagging or threats. They had discovered that other people did indeed notice good hygiene.

In no particular order and without identifying any of them, here are some photos of my children and grandchildren. There are no photos prior to 2003 and the ones from 2003 are very poor quality digital. But if you ever come to my house I have photo books by year that follows them and their friends from birth to digital age.

Here’s the big secret with grandchildren: time goes by so much quicker now, that they grow up, spread their wings, and head off into a new adult life, before we can blink twice. They are much more patient with us than their parents were.

Our job with the grandkids is to love them just the way they are. We know they will turn out just fine. Let their parents worry all night about some tedious thing they are or aren’t doing that mom and dad think they should. They all make it to adulthood. Whether they had everything or very little if they had people who love, encourage and believe in them,  it seems they become good people.

We were really lucky, Sweet Hubs and I, all four of our children grew into smart, wonderful, caring, responsible people. Did I mention we love them to pieces and are so lucky they all live within a half hour drive? We cherish the fact that we do get to see them often. Our best times have always been gathering in the living room, shoes off, fire in the fireplace chatting and laughing, sharing new ideas or remembering old ones, and now instead of sharing mugs of hot cocoa we often share a glass of wine together.

Also I just stumbled upon a simple thing. Click on any one of the photos and it enlarges and you can click the arrows to view each photo. Unfortunately it does not include the clever captions I spent time creating. Oh well, maybe they were clever enough and you are all being spared!

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Filed under Family, Life's Contradictions, Photography, Random