Just For Fun is my way of sharing all the little things I like to do... from crafty things to thoughtful things!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Celiac's Day Out

A few months ago I mentioned how frustrating it can be when  people don't take celiac disease seriously.

Add other food and pet allergies and it can be downright scary to go out.  Just to go *out*. 

It's almost impossible to grasp how huge this is.  Just to go *out*.

I can't go to the grocery, the bank, the Doctor, anywhere, without the risk of coming across pet dander.  Think about how many people touch their animals before leaving the house.  Those people are all poison for me.

Look at the photo for a moment.  If I walk into this store, I have to think about which of these people has a pet - and everything they might touch and therefore transfer allergens while in the store.  Expand that to every store, every office, every crowd.

According to The Humane Society, in 2012 62% of American households had at least one pet.  That means in this photo two-thirds of the people I will come in contact with will have some sort of pet dander on them.  My grandkids are all part of that majority too, which means even if their Moms are careful about clean clothes and limiting contact with the dogs... even with a 20mg dose of prednisone, I will still have an allergic reaction after seeing them.  I usually take the next day to sit in my chair, crochet, and moan about it.  :oP  (Poor Steve!)

Adding food allergies on top of that means I also can't eat at most restaurants.  I have to bring my own food everywhere.

Not a big deal you say - I pack my lunch every day.  Sure... but that morning coffee on the go or the treat from the vending machine at 3pm?  Uh-uh.  And unless you made your sandwich bread from scratch it doesn't count.  Haha!

It's true that one meal isn't that tough to cover.  Picnic at the park?  Family BBQ?  Sure, but what about something longer like a weekend away?

I have to begin plotting weeks in advance in order to make everything I need from scratch. 

This year I found the Holy Grail of gluten and major allergen free cookbooks: The Healthy Gluten Free Life by Tammy Credicott of Celiac Maniac fame.  I have tried many recipes from this book and haven't found a single dud.  These recipes actually work, and are good on their own, not just 'ok for allergen free'. 

I also like The Allergy Free Cook Bakes Bread which has a great focaccia recipe.  Yep, you heard me right!  And that crowning glory donut I made for Grandson #2's birthday?  This book.

The third book I use on a regular basis is Gluten Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy.   She uses prepared flour mixes and a lot of her recipes use egg which is a no-no for me, but I have been able to get away with substitutes, and the Crazy Cake is truly quick & easy.

So if you are still reading... here's how I plan my big day out.

First, I check the freezer, the food allergy sufferer's friend because I can make things in advance and just take one serving at a time out of the freezer.

Sandwich bread - my favorite at the moment is actually a bun made from the Celiac Maniac English Muffin recipe.  I follow all directions in the recipe but bake them in a hamburger bun pan.  As a bun, I can make a cheese sandwich or indulge in the occasional burger.  It is great as morning toast too, so I'll want to take several with me.  This recipe alone is worth the price of the cookbook.

Breakfast - Ever thought about how most breakfast foods have grains?  Not just the obvious breads, cereals, baked goods, but even the flour in that sausage gravy.  Luckily, I can get away with commercial Rice Chex and non-dairy milk (which incidentally travels really well), and perhaps the occasional banana bread (THGFL cookbook).

Anything but another sandwich - Ever tried to eat the same sandwich for every meal four days in a  row?  It's a bigger challenge than it sounds, especially when everyone around you is enjoying a nice meal.  For these times, I try to change it up with some Bean Pie (Called Creamy Quiche from the Food Allergy Survival Guide).  It's not creamy and not even remotely quiche-like but it *is* hearty, filling, easy to carry and eat cold or hot... and *not* another sandwich!  I've taken a slice of this pie into the fanciest restaurants at Disneyland and felt almost normal, enjoying a meal with my husband.

Snacks - Ever tried to have a day out without a single treat?  No dessert, no granola bar, no fruit, no margarita.  Sitting there smiling patiently while everyone else gets to indulge in whatever they like?  Pretending like it's no big deal?  Yeah.  Give me a darn cookie or I swear, blood will be spilt!  :oP 

Thank goodness again for THGFL cookbook and almost completely allergen free recipes for chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles, and many more... that actually taste like they are supposed to taste!

Now plan all your meals and get them packed 'cause we're hittin' the road!  ;o)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Feeling a bit Sassenach!

You know... Sassenach!

I've been enjoying the new Starz series Outlander, based on Diana Gabaldon's book.

To be honest, I got bored with the book.  I loved the concept, time travel is one of my favorites.  Add magic stone circles, Scottish Highlands and political intrigue and you've got me!  Alas,  the story wandered a bit too much for me and I found the ending incredibly predictable.

That said... I always felt a little bad about not liking it as much as everyone else did.  So, I was glad to hear about the TV series, thinking they might cut some of the things that bored me.  So far I have not been disappointed and I love the series.

As you can imagine, the costumes provide lots of inspiration for crafters!  I've been inspired by some of the fingerless gloves and "wristers" (wrist warmers aka a tube that can be pulled down over the hands) as shown here.

So I created my own crochet cables... 

First is a wrister in silk/cotton blend Rowan Summer Tweed - Toast, a tube worn over the wrist that can be pulled down over the hands.  But, I did leave thumb slits in mine as an option.  It is worked flat and seamed.

The second is a fingerless glove, with a formal thumb gusset.  It's also a silk/cotton blend,  Knit One Crochet Too's Cozette - Moss.  It's worked in the round.

Add a tunisian crochet tam, a cabled scarf... and I am ready to join Clan Mackenzie!  Just don't tell my Edinburgh ancestor John Knox.  ;o)

Here are a few more photos of these projects...

Friday, September 5, 2014

Please Hear What I'm Not Saying

Sometimes it's tough to say what we mean and mean what we say.  Over the years I've learned to listen to what a person is *not* saying and to try to let that message be louder than what they *are* saying.  In large part, because as a teen I heard this poem, and it helped me find a new perspective.

Please Hear What I'm Not Saying

Don't be fooled by me.
Don't be fooled by the face I wear
for I wear a mask,
a thousand masks,
masks that I'm afraid to take off,
and none of them is me.

Pretending is an art that's second nature with me,
but don't be fooled,
for God's sake don't be fooled.
I give you the impression that I'm secure,
that all is sunny and unruffled with me, within as well
as without,
that confidence is my name and coolness my game,
that the water's calm and I'm in command
and that I need no one,
but don't believe me.
My surface may seem smooth but my surface is my mask,
ever-varying and ever-concealing.
Beneath lies no complacence.
Beneath lies confusion, and fear, and aloneness.
But I hide this. I don't want anybody to know it.
I panic at the thought of my weakness exposed.
That's why I frantically create a mask to hide behind,
a nonchalant sophisticated facade,
to help me pretend,
to shield me from the glance that knows.

But such a glance is precisely my salvation, my only hope,
and I know it.
That is, if it's followed by acceptance,
if it's followed by love.
It's the only thing that can liberate me from myself,
from my own self-built prison walls,
from the barriers I so painstakingly erect.
It's the only thing that will assure me
of what I can't assure myself,
that I'm really worth something.
But I don't tell you this. I don't dare to, I'm afraid to.
I'm afraid your glance will not be followed by acceptance,
will not be followed by love.
I'm afraid you'll think less of me,
that you'll laugh, and your laugh would kill me.
I'm afraid that deep-down I'm nothing
and that you will see this and reject me.

So I play my game, my desperate pretending game,
with a facade of assurance without
and a trembling child within.
So begins the glittering but empty parade of masks,
and my life becomes a front.
I tell you everything that's really nothing,
and nothing of what's everything,
of what's crying within me.
So when I'm going through my routine
do not be fooled by what I'm saying.
Please listen carefully and try to hear what I'm not saying,
what I'd like to be able to say,
what for survival I need to say,
but what I can't say.

I don't like hiding.
I don't like playing superficial phony games.
I want to stop playing them.
I want to be genuine and spontaneous and me
but you've got to help me.
You've got to hold out your hand
even when that's the last thing I seem to want.
Only you can wipe away from my eyes
the blank stare of the breathing dead.
Only you can call me into aliveness.
Each time you're kind, and gentle, and encouraging,
each time you try to understand because you really care,
my heart begins to grow wings--
very small wings,
very feeble wings,
but wings!

With your power to touch me into feeling
you can breathe life into me.
I want you to know that.
I want you to know how important you are to me,
how you can be a creator--an honest-to-God creator--
of the person that is me
if you choose to.
You alone can break down the wall behind which I tremble,
you alone can remove my mask,
you alone can release me from my shadow-world of panic,
from my lonely prison,
if you choose to.
Please choose to.

Do not pass me by.
It will not be easy for you.
A long conviction of worthlessness builds strong walls.
The nearer you approach to me
the blinder I may strike back.
It's irrational, but despite what the books say about man
often I am irrational.
I fight against the very thing I cry out for.
But I am told that love is stronger than strong walls
and in this lies my hope.
Please try to beat down those walls
with firm hands but with gentle hands
for a child is very sensitive.

Who am I, you may wonder?
I am someone you know very well.
For I am every man you meet
and I am every woman you meet.

Charles C. Finn