Tag Archives: followed instructions

Living with Celiac Disease

w20130909GFCupcakes
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.
w20130620BerrriesAndCream
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.
w20130830BrightGFBananaCake
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. www.gluten.net which is a Gluten Intolerance organization in Auburn WA. Also www.celiac.org. 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.
w20130616MerangueStack
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,
Shez

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

Random, Totally

In the last few days of no posts the following things have happened at our house. Bare with me here as I let new readers in on the fact that I am constantly in the middle of more than one project. My life is full and I like it that way. Some times it does interfere with enough sleep, but so far I’m still thriving.

A brief recap, my mom has been very sick for over a year. Many partly finished things were moved to the back burner in order to have enough time to be with her as much as she needed me. She finally lost her battle with pancreatic cancer on Oct 25, 2011. The first weekend my sweet hubs and I moved all of her stuff, worked all week, the following weekend we had her funeral and hosted a gathering at our house afterward.

That gave us the first two weeks without being on 24/7 call and two complete weekends. We decided to see if our mostly started, but on hold complete bathroom remodel could be completed before Thanksgiving.

In the Beginning

This little bathroom has no closet, no window, and the corner shower, toilet, and small sink make it not convenient. The tile in this photo was one of my tile jobs years ago. The bathroom was dark, dingy and difficult.

The biggest problem was that when my handicapped brother would come to stay for a day or two, my poor hubs had to try to help him shower here. Since my brother needs lots of help, he couldn’t pick up a lost bar of soap from the floor and often backed into the push on and off knob. In order to turn it on, hubs would have to open the shower door. So by the end of each shower, I had one clean, mostly dry, and dressed brother and one soaking wet husband with soggy shirt, pants, and shoes. It was also impossible for our small grandchildren.

The plan, tear all of this out, refit with a small tub, energy-efficient toilet, and new sink cabinet. During the tear out hubs came up with a great plan to use a few feet of space from the oversized closet in the adjacent bedroom to gain space for a clothes hamper and open shelves for towels, toiletries, personal bath caddies for each person.

Hubs loves to de-construct the house, then come back with all the water-proof and above code products. He had torn out, re-framed and rebuilt. My passionate part is the tile work, so as soon as things were ready I had started the tile work, when mom started needing our help, more and more. So the bathroom sat looking just like this for the next 18 months.

A Good Start

But a start was all it was. No plumbing at all. Guests had to use the bathroom in the daylight lower level, or charge through the master bedroom to use our bathroom. Hence on weekends, we usually had a parade of little people coming in and out for the bathroom and often just hopping into bed with us. But for handicapped brother, he could not spend the night during this time.

Then time to work. Here is what we accomplished a few hours every evening after work and 12 to 14 hours a day on Sat and Sun.

Setting tiles under the "tack strip" into the carpeted hall.Working up to the trim line. Setting the glass tiles, one at a time.The soap and shampoo alcove, each piece had to be cut with multiple cuts to adjoin the angles perfectly.

Working up to the trim line. Setting the glass tiles, one at a time.

Lots of tiles had to be hand cut, or trimmed, or both.

Shaping tiles is a bit tricky. The tile saw only does straight cuts and sometimes the tile has to wrap around plumbing. There is nearly always a decorative cover that hides the cut edges, but still it has to be worked on until it is close to the pipe or drain. This year hubs bought me my very own tile saw. They are require lots of water when cutting, so they have to be used outside and the cutter person has to actually get wet, which is okay on a hot day, not so much fun in October and November when the temps were cold and it was raining. I set my saw up under the deck and it only dripped a bit on my head. Two flights of stairs down and two back up for every piece. Fitting round cuts sometimes takes two or three adjustments. No need for a gym with the stair run every few minutes.

It took no time to get the top portion of the tiles set. They are larger and go quite fast. After the thin-set was cured the grout went on quickly. Not going to bother with a boring photo of that, though I took some. After the grout is all polished and shiny two coats of sealer go on everything. Then it was time for hubs to complete the plumbing.

Grouting finished and sealed the plumbing is going in.

The cupboard for the hamper and whatever. It hides behind the open door and is fully functional when the bathroom door is closed.

The beautiful glass topped sink and espresso cabinet.

Jasmine, one of our three cats approves our work.

After: Same view as the first photo, the "before" photo.

It was a nearly completed project on Thanksgiving morning. The toilet worked, but the sink drain that came with our kit was for a ceramic sink with the overflow. It would not fit the new glass sink, so even though the water worked, we had to keep it turned off at the cut off valves. No one could actually use the sink. The tub plumbing was not quite finished. Hubs got everything done on the weekend while I did lots and lots of dishes. We have a train rack style towel bar and the shower rod to hang and we are done!!!

So Let me know what you think about our project. I do have a book in progress for anyone who might ever want to actually do their own tile work. For me, I have been hooked on it for years. I absolutely love doing it and creating something that stands up to the wear and tear of a family and required so little maintenance to look like new for decades.

Tomorrow I will try to share our Thanksgiving with you. The photos from my cell phone are not all that awesome, but the day certainly was. The leftovers have made dinners fast and delicious. I’m so thankful hubs and I both LOVE turkey.

G’ Nite,

Shez

PS A little addition to yesterday’s post is all I have time for, it’s nearly midnight already. See you tomorrow.

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Filed under Do It Yourself, Holiday, Photography

Day 12 Post a Blog a Day for a Month

Some days it just doesn’t all come together. I have fallen behind in my book illustration and not a single tile has been set since Sunday. Sometimes in randomness lies great beauty as you can see in this photo.

Dale Chahule Glass

 

At work I’m having a bit of trouble getting the state employment taxes sorted out. I’ll have to phone the state DOR tomorrow for guidance. The good news is I overpaid, on time and everything has been properly filed. It has been an interesting year in the accounting department. Due to budget cuts at our company, payroll has been brought in-house eliminating the paid service. Their service rates had tripled in the nine years we had been using them. Our employee numbers had decreased by two-thirds. So the service became very expensive per transaction.

The issue I faced was interesting. Since I had done payroll pre-computer days for a different small company, all my paperwork was filled out long hand on a form. All the transactions were posted by hand in a ledger. The deposits were made by hand at the bank, and all money was deposited quarterly with the forms filed quarterly. It was a simple process and took little time. It did always worry me in that I had a fear of the IRS. I had never had an issue with them but so many people had such horror stories, I would lay awake at night worrying about the paper work and stressing that everything balanced to the penny.

Come January when I took over, my mom was in hospice care and I took a week off work to be by her side as her final days were counting down. She had had a massive stroke the day after Christmas while family had all come to visit her and bring her presents. She had just served our coffee and had opened her gifts when the stroke hit. One moment she was talking to us and laughing, the next she was paralyzed and unable to talk. The look in her eyes told me she knew what was going on and was terrified.

A call to 911 and help was there within 7 minutes. She was prepped and on her way to the hospital with me in the back of the ambulance holding her hand tight. I was in the position of making decisions on whether she would live or die. I felt she would want the clot buster shot and I knew she would refuse all artificial means of life support. But it came down to me signing those papers and feeling the weight of deciding her fate. I chose the shot and she got it and was transported to ICU where she cried a lot and I kept having to wipe tears off her face hers from her quiet fight against the pain and mine as I stood over her and held her in all the noise of the ICU the bells, the monitors, the cords and wires.

Two days later a specialist came in and had done some more tests. He looked at me and told me she should never have had the shot at her age, it was what would basically kill her. She had a massive bleed, would never regain consciousness, and was paralyzed on the right side. She was being turned over to a social worker to make arrangements for hospice care. She would die within ten days.

OH my God, my mind screamed at me, “You killed you Mother. You alone made that decision. You knew the odds were 97% in her favor. You alone gambled the 3% that she would not pull through.

This is 11 months later and she is still alive. She regained consciousness, maintained a great sense of humor and re-learned to swallow, to walk, to talk, to dress and feed her self and left the rehabilitative nursing home to return to her beautiful apartment using a walker.

In the meantime, I was back at work and dutifully tracking the payroll and in April gathered all the information and logged in to download the paperwork I would need to fill out so I could mail the checks and the completed forms. It was when I logged in that I discovered I could not mail money to the feds. They only would accept electric funds transfers. When I went to do that, I discovered I first had to apply, be assigned an id number and wait several weeks to receive my special pin number. I would not be allowed to pay until about six weeks after it was due.

It was then I discovered that the payroll service had been notified of the changes that began on Jan 1, 2011. I had never received the notifications because I was not listed as the payroll person. The forms and notifications had all gone to the payroll company.

So I was fined for paying late and filing late. The notification and explanation came in 92 days after I had originally filed. It was in the explanation of fines that I picked up that the payments, effective NEW rules were to be paid monthly. But the time the notification arrived I was now late for the first two months of the second quarter and had only a couple of weeks to get the third payment made electronically. More fines.

Then another notice and more fines, it seems that in all the rules, regulations, and changes there was one mention and only one that all payments were due on the 15th of the following month. So again, everything was filed late. It took me until the 10th month to get it organized and everything tracking on time.

Whew, I sighed a huge sigh of relief. Then I discovered that the very popular bookkeeping and tax accounting program we use has not figured our payments due properly. Unemployment insurance is based on hours worked. Our employee is an officer of the company and is exempt from unemployment insurance. In addition to that the software used his salary as his base hours and figured the insurance rate on his hours. Since it is quite impossible for one person to work over 6000 hours in a month, the amount I sent for unemployment, that did not need to be paid , was a huge amount over.

So a bit of a mess to untangle by the end of the month so that what the state figured I owe or in this case do not owe and what I paid will be interesting to know how to sort it out.

My personal experience with all of the taxing agencies I have dealt with over the years have been comfortable, the agents easy to work with, helpful, and patient. I have found I learn what I need to know by politely asking questions and thanking people for their help. They have treated me with that same level of care and respect.

Care and respect. What a simple philosophy for getting along in the world. Add smiles and appreciation it the benefits soar.

Whoa. That is one weird post. I never know exactly what to expect

when I sit down at night tired as always and just set my fingers free. Somehow they are connected to the things that are floating around at the end of the day. Perhaps letting them all out has helped clear my mind for sleep. It seems to be working.

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Filed under Life's Contradictions, Photography, Random

What Happened?

I must say, I don’t get the “simple instructions” for setting my a second blog profile dedicated to the WordPress Challenge “Write a Blog a day for a Month.” I get the part about writing a blog. The part I don’t get is, after going step by step through the instructions one step at a time and then previewing my new blog, it looks perfect. Then I come back to it and there is a big white block where my post is supposed to be, and there to the right of the white block were instructions telling me that “this space is where you add your widgets.” I re-did it from step one three times only to have nothing change.

Scroll down and there is my blog post for yesterday in small box that appears to be last weeks left over hash. To the right of the hash are my widgets. So my question to all of you in blogland, “What the heck happened?”

Today was flat-out too busy to go back yet again and redo everything from step one only to have the exact same thing happen. So here goes post two on day two.

I don’t think any of you really want to hear about my day, so I will spare you the boring hum drums of life and call it quits. This counts as a post. It does so. It is a post!

I know it’s simple and really a waste of your time to read but I don’t want any sympathy just because yesterday may have been the last day to ever see my mom awake. Today she was sleeping sitting up in a lounge chair. Tomorrow she will likely not be up at all. The pain and the vomiting are hitting her hard and the most welcome pain meds will keep her comfortable and asleep as she loses her battle for life. The pancreatic cancer has her beat. Her heart is still strong, her brain is alert, and her will to live has kept her going 8 weeks when she was given two. But the cancer holds the winning hand. There are no miracles left for her.

Everyone says that it is okay because she was lucky to have 89 years and 10 months. But for she and I, that just isn’t long enough. Forever would not be long enough.

I am sorry this is not an off the wall funny post, but not every day and every thing is off the wall or funny. It is all just life.  In the end we all go.

 

 

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Filed under Family, Life's Contradictions, Random