Category Archives: Architecture

Just about everything but parenting

  • Writing:  If you have read here for a while, you may remember that much of my 2010 and part of 2011 was taken up with ghostwriting a book.  The book is now available for sale — here at Brushed by God — and soon elsewhere.  🙂
  • School:  During the school year, it seems like a genius plan to work for six weeks then take off a week.  With these regular breaks, my house gets clean, special trips happen, everyone breathes a deep breath.  But, ’round about this time of year, when just about everyone else is done with school and we still have four weeks left, it seems less than brilliant.  We’re not finished until June 10.
  • Garden:  Thanks to repaired irrigation tubing and some short, cute fencing, my garden now really looks like a garden, according to my husband who blessedly did the irrigation and fence work.  🙂  However, the fence does not keep out our dog, who has an odd — and maddening — affinity for corn plants.  My corn, some of them 18″ high, does not like it, either.  The garden sits in a side yard, and we may have to run a sturdier barrier from house to side-fence to make the garden dog-proof.  Otherwise, the garden is taking spectacular shape.
  • Fitness:  I am now feeling stronger after nearly three weeks of hiking 3.5 miles, three times a week.  This makes me happy.  My “fat” jeans are looser, too, even though I’ve really lost no weight.  I guess that’s from muscle gain?  I don’t know.
  • My bodybuilding cousin Romney, military wife and mother of two.

    Random extended family thoughts:  I’ve been reflecting on how widely differing my extended family is.  It’s really a cross-section of American society in general…  Just amongst my cousins (including both sides of my family), one is a nun, one is gay, another just placed fourth in a body-building competition — it has been interesting to watch her really transform in the last 18 months,  one is a single dad, one lives in a neo-hippie commune, one is teaching English in Japan, one is a theater professor, some are academics, some are blue-collar workers, some are Christians (in various manifestations), some are pagan, some are married, some not…  Lots of really disparate interests and paths of life.  I find it really fascinating.  Are most families similar to mine in their dissimilarities??  I don’t think there’s enough closeness in my extended family, and I’m sure there’s some cause-and-effect somewhere in there, but I’m not sure of the root…  I’m sure I’m part of the problem, too, sadly.

  • Church stuff:  Over the summer, I’ll be attending a Beth Moore Bible study (the updated version of Breaking Free).  Yesterday, my pastor’s wife asked me if I would, during one of the weeks’ meetings, give a little testimony based on the story I wrote last week, on the story of my son Wesley’s life, and how God really saved my life (literally) through him, when I thought it would kill me.  I was really pleased with her request.  I printed out and edited the original story because I have to hold it to seven minutes, which required me to cut it roughly in half.  That’s OK.  My writing is generally too bloated and filled with unnecessary asides, anyway.  I have pared.  🙂
  • Household stuff:  My hubby installed a “new” microwave over the weekend.  Our “old” one was just 5½ years old, but literally falling apart —  the vent broke off and had already been replaced (then broke again), the door handle completely broke off…  Replacing the door was going to cost us nearly $200.  Ack!  We couldn’t do that.  Thankfully, he works for a homebuilder, and we were able to get one out of a model home for less than half of retail.  Cool!  So, it’s five years old or so, but it’s never been used.  A friend of ours has the same model and is very happy with it.  I now have to figure out how best to clean stainless steel, as it is the first stainless appliance in our home.  Small complaint, though;  I’m happy to have a functional microwave.
  • Birds:  A Northern Cardinal (and today, his mate) has been visiting my back yard for the last three mornings.  Cardinals are not rare in the Phoenix area, but they are uncommon, and in the 5+ years we’ve been in our home, this is the first time that we’ve had a daily visitor.  Mr. Cardinal has pleasantly interrupted my mornings.  🙂
  • Other cardinals:  My husband was asked to design a home — like a manse — for a cardinal in California.  I’m very proud of him.  It’s a modest 1600 s.f. house on a very narrow lot.  My man is brilliant and thinks in 3D.  He whipped out the plan in one day.
  • My mother:  In sad news, my mom is back in the hospital.  I can’t remember how much I blogged about it last year, but in July, we nearly lost her.  She has Marfan Syndrome, and her skeleton is collapsing, which has given her decreased space for her lungs (and other organs).  Additionally, half of her diaphragm is paralyzed.  Then, she got double pneumonia.  She recovered, to our great relief.  She is a stubborn lady, and that can pay dividends when fighting illness.  She has lost a tremendous amount of weight and is very frail, and has been placed on oxygen “as needed”.  In the last month or so, her need for oxygen has been 24/7, with her oxygen saturation dipping into the 60% range or even down to 50% if she’s off of oxygen for even a short while.  After a doctor appointment yesterday, the doctor sent her straight to the E.R.  She has double pneumonia again, and is correspondingly hypoxic.  She was supposed to have major surgery (an estimated 12 hour ordeal) on the 25th of this month to resection her spine and to put in metal supports inside her ribcage area.  This is a risky procedure even for a healthy person;  for her, the doctors had given about a 60% chance for surviving surgery, mostly because of the extremely mushy shape of her arteries — she’s had two AAA repairs and one femoral artery replaced already due to aneurysms.  However, the surgery is really her only hope — aside from miraculous healing — for longer-term survival, since right now, she’s slowly being suffocated.  With this bout of pneumonia, the doctors have indefinitely shelved the surgery.  She’s crushed about that, but — unlike past stays — she’s relieved to be back in the hospital.  Normally, she is an unwilling patient.  I can’t decide if it’s a good thing or not that she’s happy to be in the hospital.  Your prayers would be greatly appreciated.

Total elimination diet… day 17… Fiala’s progress (a.k.a. The Evil Birthday Cake)

So.  We were supposed to add a new food on Monday.  I did, sort of.  However, the whole thing has been thrown off track because I ate FOUR BITES of my son’s birthday cake on Saturday.  While it was gluten-free and dairy-free, it did have rice flour and a couple other things that Fiala is not supposed to consume.  Ah, for the “simple” days of GFCF living!!

The cake.  It called to me.  It said, “You made me… everyone says I’m tasty!  C’mon!  Have a bite.  One bite.”  I succumbed to the talking cake.  It was going to be one bite.  That turned into two.  Then three, then four.  But, I thought, “Four bites can’t hurt.  I hope.”  Well, it did.  The next day, Sunday, she was very itchy, and by Monday, she was broken out in a head-to-toe rash again.

However, I did go ahead and introduce yams on Monday;  I had nearly 2 yams, and Fiala ate about 1/4 of one.  Her rash was worse on Tuesday, but I don’t know if that was still fallout from the birthday cake, or if her skin was reacting poorly to yam, as well.  Her poop was healthy, which is a REALLY good sign.  But, since her skin looks so poorly again, I decided to stop the yam.  So, after Monday’s foray into the exciting world of food items not-buckwheat-and-lamb, we’re back into Plainville.

It’s very hard to eat so plainly.  I find myself trying to find safe ways to add some color to my diet.  Like right now, I’m drinking Crystal Geyser Very Berry flavor sparkling mineral water.  No sweeteners, only natural flavors in carbonated water.  But, the thoughts nearly consume my mind, “I don’t know about berries.  What if she can’t have berries?  Is there enough natural flavor in it to cause a reaction???”  And, frankly, I don’t know the answer to those questions.

Also, last night, I got some xylitol to use as a sweetener in my morning buckwheat and in Fiala’s all-the-time buckwheat, as she simply WON’T eat it plain.  I have tried a day or two of giving her just lamb, which she eats with gusto, but since she doesn’t have enough carbs in her system, I AM the carbs, and she goes back to waking up every 3 hours ’round the clock to nurse, as if she were a couple of months old.  Sorry, but I can’t hack that.  I need some sleep, and as it is, she still wakes 2x/night, at least.  So, that makes sweetening her buckwheat seem like a good option.  I’m trying to find something that doesn’t have any “real” sugar of any kind, one that isn’t artificial, one that doesn’t have additives that are on her no-no list, etc.  Right now, that’s xylitol.  (The stevia packs I have have rice maltodextrin, and she’s allergic to rice.)

I still don’t know if Fiala can handle sugars or not;  I’m just trying to be as safe and as simple as possible.  But, almost every day, I’m faced with something unavoidable — or nearly unavoidable — that causes me to question if what I’m consuming is hurting her.

BUT AT THE SAME TIME, she seems to be much healthier than she perhaps ever has been, is gaining weight again, and other than the skin-setback, her skin looks fabulous with very little medication.  So… I guess I’m on the right path.  It still seems, though, that I’m mostly stumbling around in the dark.

I find myself wondering what the next step should be, especially as the doctor has not returned my call, when he TOLD me to call him on Monday, which I did leaving a message (with a person), but I haven’t heard back from him.

Part of me wants to do further testing, like ALCAT or something like that, but could we afford it?  I don’t know.  Likely not.  Would it reveal something that the total elimination diet would not?  I don’t know.  It would likely reveal the same or very similar information, but in a faster way.  Anyways, it looks like if you’re under 3, they have to do a smaller testing series (only 50 foods), and from the list, it doesn’t look like we’d gain that much new information;  she’s already avoiding a great many of those foods and/or been tested for them already.

The short version is that I still don’t know what it is we need to find out, so it’s impossible to know the path to get that information.  Give me wisdom, Lord.

I did find a totally dairy-free probiotic at the store last night.  I opened the capsule and tried mixing it with a bit of water, so as to administer it to Fiala in a dosing syringe.  It didn’t mix well, but I figure half the capsule is better than none.

I’m still highly considering the Body Ecology Diet, but because I’m ssslllloooowwwww, I haven’t actually DONE anything about that, other than to check a local store for the book (it wasn’t there).  Wait.  Scratch that.  I just placed the book on hold through the Phoenix Public Library system.  They have five copies, all in use;  I’m 2nd on the hold list.

By the way, not that I’m really “in” on the world of architecture any more (I was a student, long ago…), but when I passed by the nearest/newest library branch, I thought, “That had to be designed by Will Bruder.”  It was.  I thought the same thing with the Henkel/US Headquarters.  Maybe it’s not that I’m all that architecturally observant;  maybe it’s that Bruder’s work is particularly iconic.  ANYways.


The good news is that I almost like lamb now.  Almost.  And, Karin, I found some New Zealand lamb!  Ate it for lunch today!  I’m still not the connoisseur, so I couldn’t really tell if it was better than the other lamb I’ve had.


This was going to be a short diet update, and some notes about homeschooling successes and not-successes so far this year, plus some notes about me still being sick, and giving my illness to my husband and daughter and visiting father.  Ugh.  But, that’ll have to wait.

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