celiac disease

That which relates only tangentially to weaving...

Beware: right from the outset I am going to say that I do not believe this post will relate in any direct way to tapestry weaving.  By the time I get to the end, I may find some way to slip some reference to yarn, design, or art in there, but I'm not feeling it at the moment.  You might want to stop now if you were looking for something intelligent.

What I do want to say is that I was in my lovely neighborhood Albertsons store this afternoon (okay, it wasn't my neighborhood store because my neighborhood does not contain any grocery stores at all.  There is a bar, a gas station, a winery, 7 churches, and a post office... this time of year there are fruit stands selling apples--which are fabulous by the way--but there are no grocery stores in my neighborhood), and I found THESE:
I realize this might be of no interest to most of the three of you who read this blog at least occasionally, but I was practically jumping for joy in the aisle.  When I broke out in the Hallelujah chorus (the alto line, so people didn't even recognize the tune, sadly enough), I did get some funny looks.  But you have to understand that I have celiac disease and that makes eating somewhat harder than it used to be.  Used to be I could eat just about anything (hold the olives) that I wanted.  Stomach like iron, metabolism like a 15 year old... and then I got sick and now I can't eat gluten... which is in everything except lettuce.  

But recent years have improved this state of affairs because now major companies like Betty Crocker have realized that the gluten intollerant market is full of people like me who used to be able to eat everything and now can relate endless experiences of standing besides tables of food at potlucks and parties, unable to eat anything except the carrots (hold the dip) and praying that someone brought a bottle of wine--and would you pour it quickly because you're not going to eat anything tonight... and that we'll pay just about anything to be able to eat like we used to... so a brownie mix that used to cost $2.59 now costs $7.99... and we don't flinch when reaching for it.  This is survival and we feel like we're in a potentially critical situation and have to have it.  Very smart of Betty Crocker to get on board with this.  They'll make a mint.  And the Cinnamon Chex are heaven.  I haven't eaten much from that bread/cereal group in years, but baby, I'm back!  Unfortunately now that I'm quite a few years older, my metabolism is not quite so high and I'd best be careful with those Betty Crocker "foods" lest when I tell other celiacs that I actually have celiac disease, a glance at my waistline makes them call me a liar.

Attention relatives-who-only-make-inside-out-chocolate-bundt-cakes-for-birthdays: I can have my own now.  In case you don't have it, the recipe is basically devils food chocolate cake mix (please buy the gluten free version--see photo above--lest I end up in the bathroom for the rest of my birthday), a package of Jello chocolate pudding mix, a ton of chocolate chips...  I'll be over August 5th, 2010.

Isn't this dragonfly wing pretty?  Maybe that would be a good jumping-off place for a tapestry design.  He was living in my girlfriend's house and was, this particular day, in fairly poor health on the windowsill.  I snapped his photo and let him outside where he flew off in search of whatever dragonflies eat. (Huh.  Got the word tapestry in here a few times after all.)

My cousin Julie

This is not the sort of thing I usually say, but I want to send a big shout out to my cousin Julie.  She is my only living relative (that we know of) who also has celiac sprue.  

My cousin Julie absolutely ROCKS!  (And that IS something I would say.)  She made me (and my aunt and uncle) the best gluten free dinner I've had in forever... something amazing of the indian variety with lentils (she gave me the recipe.  I haven't dared look at it yet as I'm not sure I'll be able to come anywhere close... but maybe by the time I get home I'll get up the nerve to give it a go.)... she also made GF bread which is always a feat.  Add a little wine to this and I was completely overcome with the gastronomic delight of the whole thing.  Seriously overcome.

BUT THEN!!!!  She asked me to go to her favorite restaurant for lunch the next 
day--which I believe was only yesterday, though I'm losing track of time in this whirlwind trip around the US...  The restaurant is in Grand Rapids, MI and is called Maria Catrib's.  I was so impressed with the place (and especially Maria) that I took a picture of it when I left.  Maria who runs the joint brought us GF cookies as an appetizer.  I tried to buy her remaining stock when I was leaving the restaurant, and to my dismay, the remaining stock had gone into my stomach earlier in the meal and there were none to carry away in my suitcase.

I ate a grilled cheese sandwich.  This may very well not be something that impresses those of you who are not gluten intolerant.  For those of you who are, you completely understand me.  I was able to go into this restaurant and choose between something like 12 sandwiches AND I had a choice of THREE different kinds of bread.  I'm teary eyed just thinking about it more than 24 hours later.  And after my cousin returned to work, I had a big piece of flourless chocolate cake--to make up for the fact that I couldn't take any cookies home with me.

McDinner for Celiacs

I'm more than halfway finished with the petroglyph piece I'm working on at my teacher's studio in Santa Fe.  Whoo hoo!  It still seems slow, but what do you expect from a 48 inch square piece.  I have learned that switching from 8 epi to 10 epi is not all that easy, that 48 inches square is a lot of square inches to weave, and that if you don't pull those turns tight around the warp or make your jump-overs snug, the little suckers will exact retribution in the end--your piece will spread like an oil slick when you take it off the loom.  Too much weft is not a good thing.

On my way home from weaving in Santa Fe tonight, I picked up a new bookshelf I had ordered at the furniture store (I know, I know--those of you who know me are thinking, well that is one step down the slippery slope to complete book take-over and we're going to find her buried under a pile of hiking books one of these days... but really it is a small bookshelf, and I needed more space for all the books about treating kids I've had to buy lately to do my job--good excuse, right?  They're heavy--maybe I should put them on the bottom shelf just in case.)... and on my way home I stopped for McDinner at McDonalds.  I was sipping on my carcinogen-laced Coke and eating my hamburger straight out of Fast Food Nation and reading, of all things, an article in Yoga Journal called "Diet for a green planet."  (Those of you who have read books like Fast Food Nation will recognize the irony in that.)

My excuse for stopping for McDinner is that I have celiac disease.  At McDonalds, you can get a hamburger served in a plastic salad container without a bun.  I usually have to tell the clerk three times, "No bun"  (You said no bun?  Huh?  "Yes, no bread please" Are you sure? "Yes, I'll go into anaphylactic shock and die in your restaurant if you as much as let a crumb touch my burger"  This is definitely not true, but putting the fear of god into someone in the food business is my last best way to make sure I don't get sick.)  I was diagnosed in 2005 and found that many things in my world changed after that.  You don't realize how much of our social structure revolves around food until you can't eat just any old thing anymore.  

For instance, potlucks are mine fields (Sally SAYS there isn't any wheat in her salad, but then she remembers later that she used soba noodles, not rice noodles and she is so so sorry), restaurants are a guessing game (can I trust this waiter who refuses to go ask the chef if the ginger sauce has flour thickener, modified food starch, or soy sauce in it?), and your elderly aunt just can't understand why you won't eat her cookies no matter how many times you shout in her good ear that you can't eat wheat (Peat?  You can't eat peat?  Who would do that?).  If you have celiac disease, you know what I'm talking about--the body's revenge for screwing up can be fierce and unrelenting--it forces you to do things like note which public places have bathrooms you can run into without anyone giving you the evil eye for not being a customer.  Just the other day I found myself running across a parking lot and ducking into Wells Fargo because I knew they had a bathroom in the lobby.  If anyone asked, I was going to tell them I was pregnant and it was an emergency.  (That isn't true mom, sorry).

So I was sitting in McD's  reading the latest issue of Yoga Journal and cutting my hamburger with silverware thinking about improving my fitness level and how eating at McDonalds probably condemns you to hell for eternity.  Maybe I can start by getting the 100 pound bookshelf out of my car.  I hope I don't give myself a hernia.  I'm a pretty spry chick, but although it is only 2 feet wide, it is 7 feet tall and made of oak (I know I said it was small, but clearly it is bigger than a bread box)...  Maybe I can store the books in the shelf in the car for awhile.  Or perhaps I can just tell my neighbor I'm pregnant and get him to carry it inside for me.