Monthly Archives: April 2007

Additional Stuff I’d Blog About if I Weren’t Feeling So Cruddy

This whole past week has been beset by a particularly icky strain of the flu.  All six of us have dealt with it at least once, and now it looks like it’s going around a second time, which does NOT please me.

I just thought I’d note things I’d blog about if I didn’t need to go lay down:

  • How I think I was made to live in Scotland (though I am not malcontented with my desert location)
  • Mishaps with a “gentle” self-tanner (or, Karen Turns an Unsightly Pale Creamsicle Color)
  • More gluten-free food reviews
  • My 12 month old cuts her first molar
  • Tahini works really well ILO peanut (or any kind of nut) butter, and to my surprise, *all* my kids like it.
  • I missed church for the second Sunday in a row, this time caring for one more puking child.
  • Various thoughts on the Diamondbacks and Suns.
  • Completing my travelblog on our recent trip to the Midwest, including notes on how Iowa’s idea of what an “interpretive trail” and “visitor’s center” is varies widely from Arizona’s (or Karen Gains New Appreciation for Arizona State Parks).
  • My 5yo Wesley’s possible auditory processing problems/phonemic UNawareness.

Ah, well.  You’ll just have to imagine all of those.  Maybe I can get ’em in later.

Gluten-free Honey Dijon crunching satisfaction

Before I found out about celiac disease, 4.5 years ago, one of my favorite snacks was Snyder’s Honey Mustard and Onion Pretzel Pieces.  They are broken pretzel chunks (probably left over from the manufacture of non-broken pretzels, but who cares?) loaded with tangy and sweet honey mustard flavor.  Missing out on this tasty treat has been one of those wee heartaches that go along with adopting a gluten-free life. 

Recently, though, I discovered Lundberg Farms’ Honey Dijon Rice Chips.  If I could insert a little squeal of delight right here, I would.  I was already a fan of Lundberg Farms, for their extensive gluten-free products, their longstanding eco-friendly farming practices, and their diverse, high-quality products. 

These rice chips are satisfying on so many levels:  They are thick — yet not dense and hard, but light and crispy crunch.  The flavor, which is all natural, is spot-on:  tangy and a bit sweet, the perfect mix of honey and mustard, with a wee bit of sesame flavor.

As with most natural and/or gluten-free products, they are a bit pricier than your normal grocery store snacks:  I spent $2.59 for the six oz. bag, which I polished off in two sittings.  Many of Lundberg Farms’ products can be purchased directly from them, but it’s not any cheaper that way. 

All eight flavors of the Rice Chips are gluten free.

I found Lundberg Farms’ website a bit hard to navigate — most of the info I wanted was under the obscure heading of “Info”.  The gluten-free list was further buried under Info-Special Diets, then click on the label next to their GF icon.


Brown Rice, brown rice flour, organic masa flour, white rice flour, high oleic expeller-pressed safflower or sunflower oil, organic sesame seeds, cane syrup and honey, salt, evaporated cane juice, rice flour, spices (mustard, black pepper, red pepper), garlic powder, onion powder, sunflower oil, gum arabic, vinegar powder, citric acid, tartaric acid, turmeric (color), less than 2% tricalcium phosphate (anti-caking agent), and tarragon oil.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 oz (28 g)
Servings Per Container 6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 140 Calories from fat 60
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7 g 11%
Saturated Fat 0.5 g 4%
Trans Fat 0 g  
Dietary Fiber 1 g 4%
Sugars 1 g  
Other Carbohydrates 16 g  
Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 6%
Calcium 2% Iron 0%

Just because I agree with you doesn’t mean I think you would be a good president

Prompted, again, from Kiva’s blog, I had the thought that, just because I agree with a presidential candidate doesn’t mean I think s/he would make a good president.

I mean, I agree with myself 100% of the time.  But, do I think I would make a good president?  Hardly.

I took a quiz meant to match me up with the candidate most closely aligned with my own leanings.  My top match?  Tom Tancredo.  Who???  8) I’m sure, since Mr. Tancredo agrees with me 80-something% of the time that this makes him lively, smart, and attractive.  😀  However, that doesn’t mean I’d vote for him. 

Right now, I’m leaning towards John McCain.  I don’t like the fact that he’s 70.  Or 71?  And his choice of running mate may seriously sway my preferences.  (Though I could say that about virtually any candidate.)  I don’t even agree w/ McCain 100% of the time — he came in 3rd on my quiz rankings, but I didn’t really need a quiz to tell me that. 

BUT, I think

  • McCain is as trustworthy a politician that Washington has seen in a long time.
  • He has the both the diplomacy and charisma that is profoundly helpful, I think, in being a leader in world politics. 
  • Closer to home, it is his intention, I believe, to have smart politics, not just the party platform grandstanding that has been so divisive to the American political scene for at least the last 15 years.
  • He’s a Christian.
  • He’s from Arizona, so I’m very familiar with him.
  • He was a war hero in Vietnam, showing both a physical strength and internal resolve greater than, oh, 99.95% of the world’s population.
  • And, I agree with him most of the time, which is good enough for me.

Just to note, Mitt Romney came in 2nd on my quiz, but for better or worse, I find myself 95% distrustful of anyone who practices the inherently secretive Mormon religion.

If you don’t love this photography, something is wrong with you.

Well, not really.  There’s no accounting for taste, I suppose.  But, I love these textural, sumptuous, history-filled, poignant (hey!  two posts in a row with “poignant”) photos of John Annesley.  Plus almost all of his work is shot in Arizona.  And he lives in Bisbee, which is a truly wonderful old copper mining town turned artists’ enclave in southeastern Arizona.  And I e-mailed him to make sure I could post his copyrighted photos on my blog and he responded positively within an hour or so.  (Inaccessible and unfriendly artists do not help their own cause, IMO.)

Most of these pics you can buy from the artist, which he makes to-order, matted, for $55-95, which seems reasonable to me.  My computer screen does not do them justice, unfortunately, and likely, yours won’t either.  I saw Annesley’s work in my Highroads magazine, put out by AAA.  For a self-promoting publication, Highroads does an unusually fine job, most issues (at the date of this post, though, the website has not caught up with the print publication, and still has the Mar/Apr ’07 issue up).

He photographs other stuff, too, but my favorite is what he calls Vehiculart.

~sigh~  Anyone have a spare $55?

…So, what are you reading right now?

 I got tagged by Kiva to share what I’m reading.  I think everyone will be profoundly unimpressed with my current reading selections.  Also, it seems like everyone except for me can read like 10 books at once.  I tend to read one, from start to finish.  Except nonfiction books, which I tend to start, get really excited about, then not finish.  So, technically, I’m “reading” three or more nonfiction books right now, too, but I won’t list them, because you’d probably search my blog and be shocked to find that, yes, I’m still reading that book. 

Since I’m actually only working on one book right now, I’ll list what I just finished, and what I’ll be reading next, too, since one book isn’t really a “list.”

1.  I just finished R is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton:
R is for Ricochet
The reason I read this book was kind of a… sociological study on myself.  I first discovered this series when I was in late high school, and thought that it was clever, fun and unique.  I stopped reading around “F”, I think.  When I saw this store-bought hardback at a library sale for $1, I thought I’d check back in to see what Kinsey Milhone, the heroine of the series, was up to.  Hm.  Well, I found out that either my taste has changed, or I have grown a little, but Kinsey has not.  Or something.  I didn’t find it very compelling, and did find myself a tad embarrassed to be reading it.  Plus, it was chock-full of the f-bomb, which I can sometimes tolerate (see below), but when it’s combined with a mediocre story, it gets annoying.  But, while I seem to be able to put down nonfiction with ease, I rarely don’t finish a fiction book, once started… so I finished it with record speed, eager to get on to something more satisfying, which my current book certainly is.

The moral of the story is:  Don’t leave your $27 hardcover at the library, or it will surely be purchased for $1 by someone who will then bash it in her blog.

2.  I am currently reading Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson:
 Notes from a Small Island
Although littered with profanity, this book is definitely worth reading.  It’s funny, poignant, well-written, and thought-provoking, and I find myself agreeing with almost everything the author says, which, of course, ups my estimation of both the book, and of Bryson as a person.  The book chronicles the 7ish week travels of the American-born author who, after living in England for 20 years, decides to take one last trip ’round the island before he moves his family to the States.  His adventure is mostly taken by foot and public transport, and I find myself sincerely wishing that I was tramping right along behind him.  It’s also an interesting read because he’s almost exactly half-British and half-American in his language and perspectives, which makes for an insightful mix.

3.  Next, I will read Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers:
Unnatural Death (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries)
…continuing my unsated appetite for Dorothy L. Sayers mysteries.  It’ll be the fourth book I’ve read of hers this year.  I started with a book of short stories, then started working my way chronologically through her Lord Peter Wimsey series.  This book, originally published in 1927, is the third in that series.  Sometimes, I find that reading fiction leaves me with a, “Well, that was a waste of time,” sensation (see above) as the book comes to an end.  I never feel like that with Sayers’ works.  She was a brainy, dry-witted woman, and a read of hers is always worthwhile.

I think I will tag (un)relaxed dad, a Briton whose thoughtful and honest blog I always find interesting, and Erin, who is a funnier, smarter version of myself.

We’re all sick :(

Just thought I’d post to explain my absence to the few who may have wondered:  Five of the six of our family have been struggling with the ugly flu since Sunday.  Something’s gotta give when the mom is sick and busy cleaning up muck from the ends of all the folks in the family.  Yuck.

Also, I broke down on the way to church on Sunday, which would be an interesting blog post in itself, because it involves both two friends who “happened” to drive by to help out, as well as an off-duty police officer who just “happened” to buy a tow rope just a few days previous.

ANYways… for those of you who pray, all prayers would be appreciated.

The lost is found

I’ve been thinking about this post for a long time, and I still don’t think I have my thoughts together to do it justice.

The short story of it is that the way God works is so not the way we work, so not the way that makes sense to our own minds.

The last couple of years have been a study in the way God provides, and I’m just starting to get a small grasp of it, finally.  I’m hardheaded, or I would have figured this out at least a year ago, or more.

Illustrative Story #1:

I spent nearly two years — which, I know, seems very short in retrospect, but at the time, it felt like forever — longing for another child for our family.  My hubby just did not want another baby.  I understood that this is an unwise issue to “push,” so I was careful not to nag.  I did want to keep him alerted to the fact that that’s where my heart was, so I made a plan to ask him every six months (seriously) where his thoughts & heart were on the baby issue.  We only talked together about it about three times, but in the interim, I thought about it every day. 

Even with my best attempts to keep a good attitude about it, I found myself getting bitter and angry with my husband.  I realized, in fairly short order, that bitterness and anger do not produce good fruit, and certainly wasn’t going to produce a baby.  Driving down the road in early July 2005, I tearfully told God that I was going to give up the whole idea of having a baby.  I purposed to not let my thoughts dwell there, or even sit there for a few seconds.  My longing for another child was ruining my joy and thankfulness for the three wonderful children I did have, and causing me to think unkindly towards my hubby. 

That was a really hard decision to come to — never again allowing myself to consider or daydream about another child.  It hurt deeply, and I sobbed in my grief for all the children who, at that moment in time, became lost to me.

Read the rest of this entry

The furor over peanut butter bans

When at restaurants, my husband doesn’t understand why I frequently won’t inquire about ingredients of one dish or another, to see if it’s safe for me to eat.  (I’m on a gluten-free diet due to celiac disease.)  He gladly pulls the server aside, or asks to talk to the chef or manager.  I only rarely do.  I hate the feeling of putting somebody out, and I hate the deprecating, skeptical atttudes that we frequently encouner. 

I often read the greatly informative blog by Terri Mauro on on Parenting Special Needs children.  There’s a conversation going on there about peanut butter bans in schools.  Some of the views expressed there are exactly why I just don’t ask those servers about gluten.

My 5yo son Wesley has both celiac disease, and is anaphylaxic to peanuts.  The first is 99% controllable by us;  we just don’t eat foods containing gluten.  The second is only partially controllable by us:  Obviously, he doesn’t eat any peanut-containing product.  But, peanut oil is really volatile, and easily dispersed into the air, and, basically, this means that the “scent” of peanuts can be toxic to him.  Now, granted, his allergy to peanuts isn’t as bad as some others, but it’s getting worse.  We increasingly have to avoid any place where we know peanuts are going to be present, including the ballpark, which we have, as a family, previously loved to go.

No matter how many personally-controllable precautions we take, we are still dependent, somewhat, on the consideration of others willingly foregoing peanuts in his presence.  I will never again travel Southwest airlines, nor any airline that is not peanut-free.  The angst I felt, rigidly holding the EpiPen, carefully watching and listening to my son as the scent and sound of the foil packs of peanuts being opened made its way back to us… well, it’s just not worth the $20/ticket I saved by flying Southwest.  We didn’t have to use the EpiPen, but I will never willingly go through that again.

Rather than hazard the dirty looks, the thinly-veiled skepticism, and the incredulity of those to whose mercy I’d have to submit in order to fly (or whatever) peanut-free, I think I’ll just avoid those places altogether.  Bummer.  Good thing we homeschool, or I’d certainly come into regular contact with the attitudes expressed in the 50+ comments on Terri’s post.  Some of them are in favor of peanut butter bans, but many of the comments are snidely and vociferously against them, faulting both parent and child.  😦

My 9yo son’s dim view of blogging (and a few thoughts on arranged marriages)

Yesterday afternoon…

Ethan:  Mom, can I have some computer time?
Me:  Sure, Ethan.  Hey, do you want to check out Maggie’s blog?
Ethan:  No.  (pause)  WHAT??  Maggie has a blog?
Me:  Yep.  It’s cute.  Since you can type now, I could set you up with a blog, if you’d like.
Ethan:  No way.
Me:  Why not?
Ethan:  I don’t have anything to say, and a blog is like a gigantic report.

Ethan is in the unhappy throes of report-writing right now.  We’ve been on what was supposed to be a one-day report assignment for five days now.  However, I’m really proud of the work he’s produced, and I’ll probably post it here.

Maggie, btw, is one of the best arguments for arranged marriages.  I’ve known her parents since before we both had kids, and I love both 10yo Maggie and her sweet younger sister Chloe very dearly.  They’re probably my all-time favorite girls (not counting my own dear baby daughter).  I love & value their parents, Doug & Brenda, and would be absolutely thrilled if we could be in-laws.  We parents have talked about this before, saying how it’s pretty easy to see how the idea of arranged marriages got started:  you love a child, you love the child’s parents, you trust how that child has been raised…  It’s enought to tempt a parent.  We wouldn’t really do something like that, but you know, some judicious steering might be a good idea.  

One day, when Maggie was about 4yo, I was talking with Brenda on the phone, and Brenda said, “Oh, dear.  Maggie is in the back yard, in her little ballerina outfit, sitting in the mud, making mud pies.”  That is still so Maggie: the perfect balance of girliness and hands-on, messy action.

Back in the habit — Young nuns on the rise

My cousin Jeana was quoted in this AP article.

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