Monday, October 15, 2012

Please Help and Sign This Petition for Gluten Free Labelling!

I know this seems strange - making my way back into the blogosphere by asking for signatures on a petition which is near and dear to me.

I know I've been extremely quiet during the last year - hardly a word out of me or a visit to all my blogging friends.

Instead, I have the nerve to jump right back into the world of blogging without even a wave or 'hello!' or a show and tell!


What I'm doing is asking you to sign the petition for Gluten-Free labeling on the White House Website.

In 1992 I was diagnosed as a celiac. It was the summer I had lost 50 pounds without even trying. The summer where the doctor told my mother that my chances for dying from this disease were good.
I was fading away - quickly - with nothing ahead of me but incredible pain and the view of my bathroom.

That doctor saved my life that day and got me started on a gluten-free diet which is what I will always be on until I die.

Now, twenty years later, I am still struggling with making sure my diet is totally gluten-free and I can't always do that because of the lack of a labeling law that forces food manufactures to honestly declare what is in their product and put it on their labels.

Sounds simple doesn't it? But it isn't. There are many ways that manufacturers can get around this by 'omitting' certain factors and turning their heads and crossing their fingers behind their backs.
Paul Seelig received an 11 year prison sentence after he was caught selling regular bread as 'gluten-free'. And I was one of many who stood on a chair a cheered!

Being a Celiac doesn't just mean that if I eat gluten then I'm just going to have a really sore tummy, incredible stomach cramps, and diarrhea. Like any disease the effects and symptoms are endless with more being discovered all the time
So when I read my newsletter this morning and discovered that there is a petition for 'Gluten-Free' labeling on the White House Website, I jumped on it.

But I'm just one person with one vote and at present this petition needs 15,310 votes to reach the 25,000 petitions it needs by November 1, 2012.

So please help. It only takes one minute. That's one minute that could keep so many people from unknowingly ingesting what to them is poison.

Thank you.


Petition for Gluten-Free Labeling on White House Website 10/08/2012 - Since 2004 when Congress passed the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, sufferers of celiac disease have awaited some sort of finalized action from the FDA to set a rule for gluten-free labeling. The FDA proposed a gluten-free food labeling rule in 2007 and since then, there have been multiple open comment periods for it, but as of yet, there has been no finalized action to control gluten-free labeling in food products. In an effort to expedite this process, “Jennifer I” of Sebastopol, CA started a petition on the White House's official website.
Part of the concern driving this petition stems from the fact that for many, the gluten-free diet is one of necessity, not of choice. 'Gluten-free' has become something of a new marketing buzzword, as the diet's popularity has grown dramatically in recent years. This makes labeling more important than ever: companies seeking to cash in on a growing market may be tempted to cut corners and label products as gluten-free, when in fact they are not.
Supposedly, the FDA will be finalizing their rule sometime this year. Whether or not they stick to that time frame, this petition is a quick and easy way of putting more pressure on the federal government to finalize a gluten-free labeling rule.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I'm Home Again - Tired - But Home Again

We are home once more from our trip to the North Island of New Zealand!

When they say that 'words cannot describe' - it's true. There are no words that can accurately describe the beauty that is New Zealand.

Once I've got over my jet-lag though - I'll try.

Believe me when I say that neither of us wanted to leave. No matter how much we love The Big Blue Barn and no matter how much I love my brother David - I would have stayed. In a split second. I even begged the scanners and security people to find something wrong so that I would have to be detained.

That's the way it is.

Later, when I get my breath back, I'll also tell you of our meeting in Wellington with my very dear to my heart Michelle from Mickle's Pickle and then to meet her later again that week in Tauranga at her parent's place. What a wonderful and joyful week that was! If you are reading this dear Mickle - know that I love you!

I'll be back soon with tales from New Zealand.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Just Another (Snowy) Day In The Life….


Truly – I try NOT to complain – but really? It has snowed here nearly every day for the past week.

On one hand – there’s going to be great water for rafting! I’m talking BIG water!!

On the other hand – well……..It looks pretty – and it makes picking up after the dogs much easier! Still ----- it weighs on you.

My girlfriend in Ontario is talking 26C! for the last week! And what are we getting?



Pretty isn’t it? (that’s the neighbours back yard)

And since I was feeling – um – beaten – I took another looking a bit northward and into the snow…..



But look on the bright side! Because it’s always snowing here, I finally got my dining room finished except for hanging pictures etc.



And now that the dining room is finished and it’s still snowing, I can’t work outside painting trim… I’m back to working on my jewellery. I even took a weekend course on metalsmithing and had a fabulous time and met some fabulous people! Because of it I signed up for a week long course in July with Christi Friesen working with polymer clay and mixed media. I can hardly wait! It might not even be snowing then – but I’m not going to bet the barn on it!'

Now – back to real life (as if taking courses to improve myself is just playing – it sure felt like it though!)

There is one month left before whitewater rafting starts at Otter Rafting Adventures. My brother is already hard at work and he keeps telling me to take it easy and just work on my jewellery. Sounds good doesn’t it! Our new guides arrive around the long weekend we get in May – the 24th to be exact. My brother is having them do all the hard work it needs to revert from a pottery studio into a rafting center.

And what am I going to be doing for the next month?

The Man told me on Monday morning that he had booked us a month in New Zealand!!


He also rented a campervan so we are touring around the North Island and we are going to meet up with Mickle and Zebby Cat, and also visit with her parents! {Sorry Fiona! We hope to do the South Island in the future.} We leave on the 29th of April and come back on the 26th of May!


(drats – where’s my puffer?)

I don’t care that I will be taking all my pills with me so that I can get around and do things. I swear I’m not going to let anything stop me! I hear they have a great Class 5 whitewater rafting adventure. If everything goes right – I’m in there! Just to say I did it!

What we are going to do is black water rafting which involves wetsuits and inner tubes, and a helmet with a light on it so that you can see the glow worms in the underground caverns that you ‘drift?’ through. It sounds wonderful! There’s water! and there’s adventure! That puts a smile on my face!

I know I’ve been terrible about posting for some time now, and it’s going to be at least another month of silence while we make our way around New Zealand in search of hobbits and friends. But when I get back I promise pictures! Maybe not right away because – you know – rafting is starting up again for my brother’s business and I’m a part of that.

But when I can – I will post pictures so we all can share in the adventure!

Have a wonderful life while I am away! I promise I will!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Into The Fray Once More

I sat here struggling over the title of this post and after much thought I’ve left it because that’s how it feels.

On Monday I saw my first Robin of the year! It was sitting on the same branch it sat on last year when I first saw it. It’s recognizable voice was heard across the miles as I excitably called my brother and chirruped “there’s the first Robin of the year!”, and right on cue it whistled once more for my brother. “I hear it!” he told me and I could tell by the sound of his voice that he was smiling too.

“You know what this means don’t you?” I asked him shaking my head. “We’re going to have another huge snowstorm in the next couple of days”.

And it never fails.

The Robins appear and the temperature usually drops substantially by about 10 degrees and the snow starts and doesn’t stop. I always worry that the Robins will freeze or go very hungry. I could be wrong though. Maybe worms make good popsicles but I’m going to give trying that a pass. How do you find worms under 5 inches of snow? Besides, the ground is still frozen and I doubt the Robin’s little beaks could dig down through it to find a worm straying from it’s hole.

The snow started yesterday afternoon and it is scheduled (that cracks me up) to stop snowing sometime this afternoon. At present I see only a flake or two floating around but that will change. In a little while I’ll glance out the windows again and there will be nothing but a wall of white and little Robins huddled in front of tiny fires – their wings flapping to keep it going.

So yes, here we go again – into the fray




These pictures were taken at 7:30am. They are not black and whites – I just used the ‘Early morning Alberta, Canada’ theme on my camera.

Give it another hour and this is what it looks like -




Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Living in the Land of Winter

When I was young I lived in Northern Ontario in a place called Sudbury. They mined nickel there, and the city became famous for the gigantic replica nickel they built from the sweat of the men who lived in the shadow of the stacks.

The winters were long and bleak, and when it snowed it covered the cars and the snowplows left unknown lumps on the side of the streets. If you were lucky you spent an hour uncovering a vehicle and found it was really yours.

In that land of snow and ice I was an ice princess. Back then our front lawn ended in a ditch of flowing water that swelled incredibly in the spring and froze solidly during the winter. This was my own private skating rink and I was an ice princess as I skated back and forth between our driveway and the next.

The city workers would have to come around on a regular basis and shoot steam through the culverts that ran underneath each driveway to keep the water running. From there they followed the ditch which turned into a small stream as it wound around behind the houses 2 doors up. They battled that thing with everything they had, turning a smooth skating rink into huge blocks of ice which they piled haphazardly and with contempt on the side of the stream. The heat from the steam made the bottoms of the chunks slippery and they constantly slid down the banks and piled one atop the other or spread apart as if they were curling rocks.

It was here that I really became the Ice Princess. The blocks of ice were my castle and I moved among them, pretending I was climbing the grand staircase or giving orders to the maids. It kept me busy. Sometimes I was so busy dreaming of my gowns and a knight in a shining ice cape, that I didn't notice the passing of the time until I heard my mother call from far away. I could always hear the hint of fear in her voice as she called, but back then it was a safer world to play in unattended and in the dark.


After weeks of a dry but desperately cold winter, we finally received some warmer temperatures, and of course with that comes snow. And did it snow! I pretended I wasn't worried about The Man driving 40 minutes through the whiteouts and over roads the police had already closed a couple of times as they cleaned up car parts and people. I pretended I wasn't worried at all as I watched the snow mount up on the deck railings and plastered itself against the windows like it was supposed to live there.

When our housemate Sam came in - his trusty four by four steed bringing him home safe and sound, I pretended that the snow that was halfway up his boots was just a skiff! And when The Man finally came through the door and brushed himself off with the broom I sent up a small but very grateful 'Thank You' prayer.

Only then did I venture out myself to take the following pics -

When morning came, all you could see of the sidewalk lights were the very top squares. I wish I had taken a picture of it to complete this set. Not to worry. There is still plenty of time for us to enjoy another couple of snowstorms before our winter is done.

Of course Alberta has had one of its famous chinooks and there are big patches of brown grass showing through the snow now. It is NOT a pretty sight. Everything is dirty looking once more and I didn't think there was any way I could make that look pretty enough to photograph.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Come Have A Look

I’m trying out Wattpad with a repost of one of my own favourites. For those who haven’t read it before, it’s The Day I Taught Angelina Jolie How To Knit.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Inside My Washing Machine



I know – I know – Sounds weird doesn’t it? But I spent one whole week cleaning inside my washing machine.

Now for those of you who get queasy cleaning drains clogged with hair etc. – maybe you should avert your eyes.  It was similar but different. Read on.

When I came home from my brother’s at the beginning of November, I decided it was time to do a major clean through this big old barn. Let’s face it – two men – alone – for five months? What do you think!

The Man is a very clean and tidy person. That being said he has tunnel vision – for computers. Everyday dirt and grime build-up doesn’t show up in his world.

As for Sam our housemate? Hmmm. Love him – but…………… he’s different.

The guys (probably out of sheer guilt) decided to get me a gal to come in and clean – or help me clean – depends on the day. I almost felt sorry for her those first few weeks. I’m sure she thought a lot of things, but mostly – ugh!

While she attacked the bottom floor bathroom, I started in the laundry room. And for some unknown reason (to me anyway) I started cleaning the washing machine. Inside.

I remembered that the sounds of the machine as it went into its final spin didn’t sound like a machine that was draining properly. Looking inside I could see that most of the little holes in the main tub were plugged! No wonder the water wasn’t draining out. A lot of it was remaining in the tub!

Being the resourceful person I am, I dashed off to the top floor (puffing madly by the time I got there) and searched out one of my grandmother’s crochet hooks. Dashing back down to the first floor (not so puffy this time) I attacked those holes, pulling out fibre and hair and grunge! It was gross! Believe me!

I spent at least 3 days before I broke and begged Sam to take the machine apart so I could get at those holes easier. This is what we found………….(look away if you don’t want to fall into the trap I did)







As you can see from the holes, I had poked quite a bit of ? with my crochet hook but it just wasn’t enough. I had to take the drum over to the self-serve car-wash and blast away at it for almost an hour. It cost me $22!

What you see around the base of the spindle was like cement. We chipped away at that with putty knives to get it off! It was quite an adventure to have on my first days back from my summer at my brother’s.

What was it? I’m not sure but I do know a number of guides have washed their wetsuits in that machine. I believe a lot of it is the silt from the river mixed with the calcium etc. in our drinking water and sprinkled with dog hair (and Sam hair-Sam sheds a lot!)

So go ahead – have a look inside your washing machine. Is it pristine like it really should be or does something else lurk in there……?

Friday, January 27, 2012

I think I lost January Somewhere

Has anyone seen it??

Last night The Man bought me a new Android phone. Now I don't do technology all that well. What I have instead are 2 appointment calendars, some headphones on a cord, and a MP3 player that I only know how to turn on, select my audio book of choice, and then turn it off again. I NEVER touch the remote on the tv! And when a technician comes around and tries to explain something to me I always say 'Talk to The Man'. That or 'Back away from my noggin if you know what's good for you! It may go off at any moment!!'

I only mention the phone because he was inputting my appointments for me. When I happened to see yesterdays date I was astounded! Where did it go? What happened to January? Glancing through my calendars I see that my January went with all the doctor appointments I had. If you are like me and can only tell the day of the week (not necessarily the month) by your next appointment - then there is something sadly wrong.

I'm beginning to wonder how many hours my backside has warmed those uncomfortable seats you get to sit on in a waiting room of any kind. Where do they find those chairs to begin with? Now I have to buy different pants to fit the shape my buttocks have taken on.

Let's get back to that phone again. I'm telling you right now that I'm probably never going to learn how to use most of it. And if anyone catches me texting - just shoot me! Ack - digression!
What I keep meaning to say is that nearly all of January has been filled with doctor appointments. Don't you wish you had my life?

Uh - No - you don't. Believe me.

At present we are once again waiting for an appointment with a specialist. As we all know, here in Canada it can take an awful long time to get in to see one. Where they used to say up to a nine month wait, now they are saying a year's wait. Most of us have learned to be patient or forget about it altogether. That way when the call finally comes that you DO have an appointment - then it's time to bring out the cake (and the ice cream of course)!

But this time around is supposedly very different! This time they believe they know what has been causing all the pain and everything else. Three years of plodding along, smiling and 'Keeping my chin up' have been hard, but I've done it. I believe I've paid my dues many a time and now I just want to get the results from the latest round of tests and deal with it all.

I'm looking for anyone who has any of the following:




Celiac Disease

If anyone has either one of these diseases I'd appreciate contact and an exchange of knowledge, or support, or just a pat on the head in passing.

As it stands at present, tests have shown that I have all four of these diseases. That in itself is a little unusual and some of the diseases have the same symptoms, so we await the last round of tests for more positive results.

It is not the end of the world certainly but my doctor has once more asked me if I have my Living Will completed. A gal couldn't be having more fun I tell you! And if they can get rid of the pain that has taken over my body for over 3 years, I'll be a happy camper.

So if I say I've forgotten - I truly have. My short term memory stinks. Reeks even! It could be a number of things (obviously) but it could just be a result of the pain medication. In fact, we have found out that some of the pain medication was a trigger and causing me more pain! Even food can be a pain trigger - Hello smoothies! Do you know - I've never had a smoothie until this forgettable month!

I could go on and on - (snore) but I'm going to call a halt to this post right here. Any info or whatever will be gratefully appreciated. I promise!

Now I have to go answer that phone - (I think).