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30 May 2011

Bits and pieces

Happy Memorial Day!  :)

Today is my parents' 52nd wedding anniversary.

 We made it thru the weekend without too much snow.  Friday and Saturday were beautiful.  Yesterday was cold with a wind that took my breath away and we did get a little snow but it didn't stick.  Last night the temp fell to just below 20F, but checking the apple tree today, it doesn't seem to have effected it too much.  It looks as though we will be having a good chance of a few apples this year. 

Memorial Day weekend is a huge weekend for yard/garage/rummage sales here.  Duane and i went out both Friday and Saturday mornings for a couple of hours, but i over-did it and have had to do a lot of resting since.  

It is hard to want to do so many things and see so many things that need to be done in our house, yard, and garden, and know that i MUST rest or i will get very ill.

I came across this blog post today:  How to make a budget even if you hate making budgets.  We have been working on trying much more diligently to save.    I am doing much better managing money since i began reading The Simple Dollar a couple of years ago.  However, i have struggled with keeping track of expenses, etc.  I get started at keeping track, but then get bogged down.

The "how to make a budget . . . " post really inspired me to give it a try.  Duane has been telling me for some time that we spend what we bring in.  We are not going into debt, but we are not saving.  I denied it.  And especially for the past 6 weeks or so i have been working very hard at saving - putting money into our savings account.  It is, in fact quite amazing how much i've been able to transfer to savings in such a short time. 

Duane and i also decided to give ourselves an allowance.  

Since i love to craft, i tend to spend money on it.  I now have a set amount to spend.  If i save it, well, all the better, but when i run out, well, i am done.  He has the same amount to use on his own projects as well.  May was our first month of doing this, and i did pretty well until the end of the month.  I am starting June with only half my amount because i spent half of June already.  Sigh.  But it is a start.  :)

Anyway, i spent most of this afternoon making notes on our income and expenses.  I went back 6 months to 1 December to do this.  The result on paper is pretty much what Duane said:  We are spending just about what we are bringing in.  However, i don't think those numbers tell the whole story.

I've noticed that we are spending much more on gas since we drive That Jeep so much!  I also noticed that my expenses in crafting are in line with what i am now given in my "allowance," however, i know i spent quite a bit more than that in cash.  :(

So i know that my numbers and accounting is not "clean."  The result is i think i'll be more inclined to keep accurate records now.  I know we spend a lot of money on food, but those numbers are inflated as i often get cash for other things when i check out at the grocery.  In fact, a number of things rather cross over.  I know i pay for many things with cash.  Some things have gotten put in with the grocery or miscellaneous numbers because i cannot tease them out with simply the info online from the bank.  I am sure that the savings is hidden in these numbers, but i cannot prove it.  

Anyway, those numbers certainly give me the motivation to keep better records.  

So, that was our weekend.  How was yours?  Did you do anything exciting with your long weekend?  Do you have friends or family members you remember on this day formerly known as "Decoration Day"?  My family in the Southeast still decorates the gravestones of family members on this day. 


26 May 2011

Updates, It is Today


My "followers" are not showing up at the top of the page.  Did everyone leave?

I've been sick.  I thought i was improving and then got much, much worse on Wednesday.  I think i'm on the upswing now.

I saw the new doc for a follow up today.  It was like seeing an entirely different person.  I don't know, but i'm guessing that the first time i saw her she wasn't talking to me so much as she was trying to impress the medical student who was sitting in.  I'm rather discouraged.  

She had originally told me that to do the hCG diet i would start with a nutritionist and be measured and plan the diet, etc.  And then have follow ups with both the doc and the nutritionist.  I was looking forward to this because as someone who eats mostly vegetarian, i was hoping for help making the diet decisions.  

Today she said, "You can do it yourself.  Order the homeopathic hCG drops (before she had told me that only prescription were worth bothering to use) and get this book and do it."  

I said, "Well, i was hoping for more support than that so i wouldn't be entirely on my own."

Her response, "Support?  What support?  I leave the office at 5 pm.  I won't be answering calls on the weekends.  What kind of support do you think you would have?  You ARE on your own."

Well, if she had told me that when i saw her on 9 April or whatever the date was, i would not have wasted a month and more.  I could have begun long ago!

Sigh.  She is right, in more ways than she can comprehend, i am on my own.  I will try her supplements, and i'll re-run blood work in August as she wants and see her for follow-up in September.  I might even do some IV vitamins (tho that is questionable; i'm not sure her staff could run an IV line for me).  But i will not expect support, or even basic knowledge from her.  If i get an infection i will treat it myself, as i have been doing.  If i have questions, i'll research them myself, as i have been doing.  I'm not sure (after her answer on this and some other serious matters) that i would trust her answers or recommendations anyway.

The big question:  Why even continue?  Well, it is like this:  I have been skipping around to doctors for the past 3+ years.  NONE of them seem to know what they are doing and they keep making recommendations i can't live with.  So i HAVE been "doing it on my own."  The down side of that is i am on disability.  I need my limitations and problems documented by a "medical health professional."   I've been with John all along, and he has been documenting this all along, and next review i will be relying on his reports/documentation.  However, he is a PhD not a MD, and so i'm not sure how much weight his report can carry.  I need a MD.  I'm going to try and stick with this MD, but i must admit that after my first visit with her, this second one was a slap in the face.  

Today is the 5th anniversary of Kaylee's due date.  If we had carried to term, we would have a child who would be celebrating her 5th birthday sometime toward the end of May or early June.  

In recent months, it has seemed like i have "imaginary children."  I did have imaginary children when i was a teen, and this feels rather similar.  The difference of course was when i was a teen i had hope of eventually having flesh and blood children.  I'm past that hope.  A friend called last week to let me know of an adoptable child, but all that does is shred my heart anew as i know we cannot, cannot, cannot take a child with my functioning at its current state.  I feel absolutely crushed and broken knowing there is a child who needs a home, that someone hopes i could take him, and i cannot.  I do not have the functioning to do basic work in our home; without nearly full-time help taking a child is an impossibility.  We cannot afford that kind of help.

I read a book recently called Heaven is For Real.  I can't begin to tell you about this book.  It was good.  And i cried for the loss of our child.  

I think, had we carried her to term, we would not have named her Kaylee.  These days i lean toward Mary.  I don't know what would have been.  Sometimes i wonder what i was even thinking about using Kaylee.  

I knew, of course, that it was because of a character on the TV show Firefly (later they made a movie with the same characters, Serenity).  But i had not watched the show in a long time and had rather forgotten my feelings (except remembering i liked the show).  

Recently we were watching some of those old shows again, and i knew right away why i wanted our daughter to be Kaylee.  On the show, Kaylee was the sweetest young lady i've ever seen.  (Think a modern version of Melanie Wilkes.)  She wasn't naive, but she was innocent in her way of dealing with people and always saw the good in folks and life was a constant joyous wonder to her and she was simply sweet.  That is what i wanted for our daughter and that is why i loved the name Kaylee, even if i forgot that later.

So, it is Today.  Tomorrow will be tomorrow.  And i take one day at a time.  Today is a rather discouraging day, but tomorrow is another day.  


15 May 2011

Drivel and debris

I think part of the reason that i've had more trouble writing recently is not that i don't have anything to say, but what i have to say seems to be so inconsequential and insignificant.  Still, i have always written since i was a teen, and i need to write, even if it feels rather empty to me. 

One of the nice things about being sick is that i actually saw a 5 pound weight loss.  I didn't manage that last fall with 5 weeks of doctor-approved dieting.  It is short lived, however.  I think i've already seen a couple of those pounds return.

One of the not so nice things about this illness it is that while i had a food reaction, it may have activated some infection that i thought was not contagious but may have been.  Duane has been sick for a couple of days now.  He thinks it is different because he doesn't have the headache - but THAT may have been related to food where as all the rest was a quick-onset infection that i did pass on.  I hope not, i may have passed it on to others, too, and i hate to think anyone is ill because of me. 

It is interesting the way that blogs are not only part of "the web" but create a web of their own.  

Mali of No Kidding in NZ wrote a post on privacy and about people asking if a child was born by IVF.  That had been pinged off of the post of someone else, who had pinged from Mali to begin with.  An interwoven web.  The other post, Random Thoughts on No Kidding:  Totally stolen from folks i have no right to steal from by Bridgett, touched on a number of different thoughts.  One of the themes in both of these (my interpretation) is on curiosity and gossip and privacy.   

But what struck me in the post by Bridgett was a comment about folks who already have children and the questions they get asked:  Are you going to have another?  Do you want a boy or a girl?  Possibly even more intimate or critical questions. 

One of the things that those of us in "childless/infertility" circles deal with is about questions and criticisms.  How to deal with these?  When someone says, "Why don't you just adopt?" there seems to be an unstated criticism behind it.  Most people hear the word "just" as "simply" and the implication is that it just isn't that hard to do.  (Misconception!)  "Have you considered adoption?" seems to imply that we have not really considered all the options or given it enough thought.  And a couple of bloggers, Pamela of Silent Sorority and Lisa of Life Without Baby, have done some public work.  Both have written books and been vocal about infertility and childless/childfree lives.  

Pamela has had articles or interviews published in some fairly well known venues.  The vitriol in the comments, caustic, hateful, hostile comments, is just staggering to me.  Pamela doesn't give a full history of why they made the decisions (not to adopt) they did, but simply says, "It doesn't work for us."  And there are people who flay her open for that simple statement.  

But there is so much more behind that simple statement than anyone could begin to understand.  Duane and i have spent hours and hours looking at options, how they would effect us, if we could afford them, if we were able to parent an older child (having no experience and "older" almost always equals some emotional or other challenges), if we would be able to change our current lifestyle to take older children, if my health would allow me to function, if an agency would even consider us now that we are much older.  There are so many, many, many parts to the equation.  How do i begin to explain this to a well-meaning person who says, "Why not adopt?" or "Have you considered . . . ?"  "It doesn't work for us" is, of course, the most direct and simple way to explain it.  But people want more.  "Why - ?"  And they seem to want to criticize the reasons, too.

So, how do i distill those hours and hours of heartbreaking discussion into a simple explanation of our choices?  It isn't that i'm unwilling for the person (people i know to honestly care and aren't simply being nosy and questioning us and our choices) to know, and part of me thinks that it is good to explain and help someone else know of the complexity, but frankly, i usually just don't want to take that long and go into so much detail of something that has already seemed to last for years for me.  

How do i explain that we have come to the decision that makes the most sense for us and for our reality, but i still ache that this has to be the reality in which i live?

However, the web of which i mentioned earlier, made me aware that we live in a culture, shoot, maybe even just being human causes it, where folks can be critical about almost anything.  Yes, the childless (for me it will never be "childfree") folks come under fire for making poor choices or not adopting or being selfish.  But parents come under some harsh criticisms, too.  Have one child?  Well, that's not good.  "Why do you only want one?  Don't you know that you're going to raise a selfish child who doesn't know how to get along with the world?  Don't you know that your child will never have true family connections?"  Have more than two children, especially larger numbers?  "Why would you do that?  Don't you know that you are causing over-population on the earth?  You are being very selfish and over using rapidly decreasing resources!"  All kinds of things can be criticized or questioned:  The number of years between children, whether or not you're going to have another and whether that is a good choice for your family, your world, etc.  Child rearing is often criticized, too.  Whether or not you choose to spank or use another form of discipline.  The behavior of your kids.  

In short, i think we live in a world that likes to question, disparage, and condemn others for a multitude of reasons.  Bridgette's post made me remember that it isn't just folks without children who raise the ire and abuse of others.  

In my case, i just happen to be super-sensitive about the issues around our own choices.  I was a bit offended a few weeks ago when a cousin of Duane's said, "I sometimes think you were right in choosing not to have kids.  There are times i question our choice to have them!"  

I didn't respond, but i was a bit offended by the idea that we chose not to have children.  Sometimes i think that people confuse choosing not to have children and not wanting children.  In our minds it was not a choice, simply that we are not able to have them naturally and it is not possible for us to utilize other methods (IVF, adoption) due to my medical issues.  So it doesn't feel like a choice to me, but of course, it is.  I know that the other avenues won't work for us, so therefore i have chosen not to take those paths.  

I feel like this is a long and pointless analysis that is losing focus.  So, let me end with this:  

Lisa, of Life Without Baby, recently was part of an "Expressing Motherhood" performance.  She (and indeed, the childless community) were excited to be included in this opportunity.  She did a fantastic job. 

Here is the clip of her performance:  Expressing Motherhood  It is just under 10 minutes long and is very well done.  If you know of anyone in your life who does not have children but wanted them, please take the time to watch.  

Hope you're having a good weekend.  :)


This has been edited a number of times trying to get it to look right - and it is very long.  I'm done.  If it doesn't look good, something is wrong with Blogger!

13 May 2011


Sunday night it rained and Monday morning we woke to a hard frost.  I was worried about our apple blossoms, but they seemed fine when i checked later in the day.  Monday afternoon it snowed off and on, but didn't stick.  Tuesday morning we woke to about 3/4 of an inch of snow.  I worried about the apple blossoms, but there was nothing i could do.   

(Pic is from two years ago, haven't gotten any this year, yet.)

When we got home yesterday, i went to check on them.  They seem fine.  And just as excitingly, i saw a couple of bees working them.  Nothing will happen without the bees to pollinate them. 

We still could lose them.  I read somewhere recently that BB gets an average of 2 inches of snow in May.  But i hope this is past.  My outdoor onions are doing quite well.

Duane left this morning about 3.30 to go out with Search and Rescue.  He has a test tomorrow for fitness or something.  And again on Sunday SAR is off doing something.  Monday evening he has his regular meeting.  And Tuesday afternoon/evening is a SAR fundraiser at the pizza place in The Village.  

So he's going to be off busy.  Don't think that i'm complaining!  I doubt i'm going to feel up to doing much and so i'm glad that he'll be occupied.  :)


Toxic, but i still found it interesting

I was poisoned again this week. I'm getting to the point where i have about ZERO tolerance for sulfites, it seems.

We took Duane's parents to Souplantation for dinner (Mothers' Day celebration) Tuesday night. I was very careful in my choices of foods: no pre-mixed salads, no salad dressing, strictly raw veggies from the salad bar. The only exception to this was i did take some raisins, some pickled beets, and a couple of sweet pickles.

About 20 to 30 minutes into the meal, i developed a raging headache.

Now, i know that all non-organic dried fruits are high in sulfites. Just two weeks ago i picked out all the dried cranberries in a salad someone made. But i've had raisins before! I've had raisins at Souplantation before! So they were not on my “radar” as something to be careful of. Turns out that pickled anything also tends to be high on sulfites. I respond fine to either Bragg's Organic Apple Cider Vinegar or to organic pickle relish, so this also was not on my radar. Since doing more research, i've also found that i've probably given myself small doses of sulfites (thus a mild headache afterward) in thinking that hash browns at restaurants are safe.

Regardless, i was one sick puppy for a while. This time i had new symptoms. I first noticed a very, very raw sore throat. Then my sinuses began to fill. I had asked about sulfur reactions recently at Hawkes' Health so i knew that Vitamin B12 and something called molybdenum were both useful in helping the body process sulfites. I had B12 on hand, and know it is water soluble so that it is safe to take a large dose of it (as long as it is not cyanocobalamin, which is actually related to cyanide and can be toxic, what i have is the safer methylcobalamin). I think that is why the headache didn't get any worse than it did. But i'd never heard of molybdenum before. In researching it, i found that it is an element, a metal.

This is what Wikipedia says about it in the body: The human body contains about 0.07 mg of molybdenum per kilogram of weight. It occurs in higher concentrations in the liver and kidneys and in lower concentrations in the vertebrae. Molybdenum is also present within human tooth enamel and may help prevent its decay. Pork, lamb and beef liver each have approximately 1.5 parts per million of molybdenum. Other significant dietary sources include green beans, eggs, sunflower seeds, wheat flour, lentils, cucumbers and cereal grain.

But, of course, if some of these things are grown in insufficient soil, they may not have the amounts a body needs of this element.

Wednesday i was still fairly sick. I stayed home for the morning, but went in for the afternoon. I had the doctor give me an adjustment, and he recommended something called Lactase (by Standard Process) which he said would help my body to clear nasty stuff. I did half an hour of work. I didn't feel safe driving, tho, and dear friend Cindy gave me a ride to my Ils.

I had several cups of “throat coat” tea by Traditional Medicinals, with Manuka honey and lemon. That helped the sore throat, but my sinuses were still clogged, i began a cough (my lungs being my weak point) and i ached all over as if i had the flu. Every joint ached, and i literally felt poisoned. I still don't know if this was all caused by a reaction to the sulfites or if an opportunistic infection set in as well. I had Duane get me some Benadryl.

Thursday i was better, tho my sinuses were still raging. I slept nearly to 8 AM which is unusual for me, and Duane drove me to work to get my car. I went to the health food store to stock up on more B12 and to get molybdenum. (And to eat, i'd not eaten since this happened. I trust what the restaurant at the health food store serves.)

The girls at the health food store didn't recognize molybdenum either, but they found a chelated form on the shelves. Because it is only needed by the body in trace amounts, it would be easy to overdose with this. The dosage on the package was 1 tablet. I chose to take two, and will probably take one a day for 3 or 4 days, and after that take it twice a week.

I spoke to dear friend Dawn while trying to figure all of this out. She recommended (and i think i need to do so) to carry Benadryl and some hydrocortosone cream all the time. I think i will also add some B12 and molybdenum and lactase to this emergency pack.

In doing more research on the sulfite issue i learned that a number of medicines are sulfur-based as well. If this moves to the next step and i have a serious allergic reaction (anaphalictic shock), it will be a problem not just for the seriousness, but also because the Epipen contains sulfites as a preservative. And, from what i've seen thru online research, this might not be taken seriously by ER staff. I already have a problem with them when i present a list of meds i can't take. Most sulfite info i've found indicates that it is not wide-spread (and possibly not well accepted) as an allergy. Also i've read in several places that a sulfite allergy does not indicate a problem with other sulfur compounds. I saw this stated over and over that sulfite sensitivity does not translate to sulfur sensitivity and vice versa.  So it could be over looked, and i've definitely shown that i'm sensitive, possibly allergic, to all kinds of sulfur compounds.  

In fact, i would hazard a bet that the stuff that was given me in an ER visit last fall was sulfur based. It seems to have been since that time that all these things have cropped up. I can't take sulfa drugs (antibiotics), and i'm reacting to even mild sulfates in shampoos. (The most common sulfate, sodium laurel sulfate, used in shampoo as a detergent and to create foaming, is very harsh. I've not used it for many years, but i'm finding that even milder sulfates like Olefin sulfonate and sodium coco sulfate – a less harsh version of sodium laurel sulfate, still cause problems.)

So, i now fall into definite “multiple chemical sensitivity” status – something i did NOT want! As most doctors seem to be entirely clueless about fluoride-based meds, possibly about sulfur-based meds, too, and unaware of alternative treatments (even the new alternative med doc only told me Benadryl when i called the office, but i've found so much more info), and clueless about safe foods, i want to be sure i don't get sick enough to require hospitalization.

Anyway, i'm improving. I still have sinus issues. That has moved into a cough, so i'm taking the Manuka honey regularly. I still feel very weak as though i had just finished fighting the flu. But i'd already planned to be home next week, so for once my timing is good. (Duane and i often laugh at how our “timing sucks.”) And there may be some good come out of this. At times i've thought that Duane's family thinks i'm a bit crazy. Now that Duane's mama and dad have seen first hand how sick i get if i eat food that contains chemicals, maybe it will be easier for us all. I'm hoping that they can accept a bit better when i say, “No, thank you. I can't have that.”


07 May 2011

What do you think?

Summer sheets!  Joy.  :)  Duane didn't complain.

We're going to pick up our rent-a-kids later today.  We've not had them for a while, so i'm looking forward to it.  It sounds like life may be settling for them (parents coming out of crisis) but it is too soon to be sure.  

I've followed The Simple Dollar blog for some time now.  I like his approach, and some of his suggestions have really clicked for me and i'm making changes because of them.

Somewhere there someone had asked about "Extreme Couponing" and so i looked it up.  It is a new program (but not a new concept) on cable TV.  I recorded and watched a few of them.  

The idea is that you can get a huge amount of stuff if you are conscious of your use of coupons.  Some of the people on these shows did amazing things with store sales, coupons, double coupons, and store cards.  Several purchased over $1,000 worth of items for $50 or less.

I won't be recording any more of these programs.  They deeply disturb me on several different levels. 

(My comments do not apply to 100% of the folks, but a majority of what i've viewed.)

First off, they seem to have hoarding issues.  And control issues.  Several of the different people (mostly women in the programs i watched) talk about needing to be "100% in control."  Their "stock piles" often include huge numbers of things; some of the food items will not be consumed before going bad.  One couple had enough toilet paper to last them 40 years, according to the commentator.  (Some of these folks do donate items to food banks or to be sent in care packages for the military.)

I think there are reasons for control/hoarding.  Several of the families profiled in these shows went thru life-changing experiences, mostly job loss, where just being able to eat was a challenge.  And once you've been in a situation in which you feel helpless, you want to do whatever you can to feel in control of your life.  So i get that.

Some of these folks seemed to think that if it was free that you should get as many of the item as possible - never mind if you could use them or not.  If you can't use them, i could see donating them to a shelter or something, but many of these people just added the useless items to their stockpile.  That is hoarding behavior.  It is not healthy.

Secondly, this seems to consume their lives.  Two of the women profiled have stated that they spend 50-60 hours a week focused on their couponing.  One lady said that she will cancel appointments, lunch dates, time with her husband in order to do her couponing/shopping.  Another said that she really doesn't have time for friends anymore, so sometimes she takes them with her on her shopping trips.  I think this is seriously disrupted their lives.  

Third, what i observed was frankly addiction.  The people talk about the stress and the adrenaline rush when they go thru the check out stand.  I understand the joy of feeling you've done a terrific job at something and what a rush it could be to see $1,000 worth of stuff come down to $43.59, but i see this as an addiction none the less. 

Another major issue for me is that almost none of these products are things that i consider healthy (or at the very least, very poor choices for our environment).  People were purchasing huge quantities of soda or vitamin water or Gatorade. One lady bought over 100 boxes of "night time cold medicine" and was paid $51 for her efforts.  She used that money to buy other items she couldn't get for free.  What do you do with over 100 boxes of a cold medicine?

Many (not all) of the people profiled were quite over weight.  That makes sense to me when all the things you can get for free or cheap are processed stuff with little to no nutrition.  I just can't consider the "food" that is gotten with these coupons to be anything worth having, even if you do get it free.  And i just can't understand being proud that you have 4,438 boxes of toothpaste (never mind that i think fluoride is one of the worst poisons out there).  I wouldn't touch most of these products.  I do not buy anti-bacterial soap (i think it is bad for us and the environment) or deodorant (bad for us) or laundry detergent (bad for the environment, i use natural stuff) or most commercial shampoo (bad stuff, i'm allergic) or commercially produced hand lotions (the stuff i make is much better, cheaper, healthier) or household cleaners (ditto on all the above). 

I will say that watching this program made me realize that i should be more careful with our money.  I think there are items i purchase (toilet paper, contact solution and cleaner, razors, a few other items) i could be more careful about and maybe use coupons.  There are a couple of items i buy/stock up on when i see them on sale, but i'm never going to fill a room with toilet paper or toothpaste.  

I don't know.  I understand the concept of something for nothing being a thrill, but for me it is not a thrill if it is not something i can use.  

Have you seen the programs or articles on extreme couponing?  What do you think? 


06 May 2011

Life on the mountain

Life feels a bit too mundane to say much right now.   Of course, that has never stopped me from talking before.  ;)

The cats have been silly.  We enjoy watching them.  I've been knitting quite a lot.  I need to be moving on to sewing projects, soon.

The heat down the hill is bothering me more than i remember from other years.  I'm always thankful to get home to cooler temps on Thursdays.  The mint i planted last week hasn't done well with our lows in the 20s, but i'm hoping it will hang on and come back around.  If not, i'll replant later.  The inside plants are doing fair, some well, others not so much.  But still, it is a better start than i've made before.  The onions outside are growing well.  There is still some snow on the mountains, but it is melting off.  The last day of skiing was the day before Easter, 2 weeks ago.

We are now driving the "summer car" - the Honda Fit.  It gets better gas mileage than Duane's Subaru.  I think if we are driving the summer car, we should have summer sheets on, too.  Duane thinks summer sheets are only for about 8 weeks, from mid-June thru mid-August, and then only under protest.  

Mac needs to be shaved of lumps - Jazz, too, actually.  I think it is finally warm enough.  Today, sitting in the living room was the first time this year i've not gotten chilled. 

I'm very tired.  Olivia was here today.  We tried to do chicken pot pies, they turned out okay.  I think the filling was fine, but the gluten-free recipe i used for the pie crust was so-so.  The blog where i found the recipe raved about it, and i have to say it stuck together better than what i've done before.  BUT it called for a full cup of white rice flour.  By experience i know that this tends to make the whatever very gritty.  I cut that by half and made the other half cup quinoa, but even so it was still too grainy and next time it gets only a tablespoon or so of the stuff.  I'll find a better flour instead. 

I've been re-reading the Harry Potter books and then watching the respective movie afterward.  Not sure that is the best plan.   Even tho the movies are well done, i get bored with them.  The first two did a pretty good job of sticking to the story line and dialogue without cutting too much.  After that the books are too large and complicated and i noticed a number of changes. 

 I tend to develop allergies to products easily.  Even my expensive shampoos from the health food store are bothering me.  I've been looking into alternatives (using baking soda, using egg, vinegar, or Dr. Bronners, etc.)  So far i've not had much luck.  

Lots of "re-used" pics here as i've not much room left at Picsaweb.

That's the every day, low down, nitty gritty here.  So, how are things in your part of the world?