Thursday, November 08, 2012

Let's Go Gluten-Free

I am brand-new to a gluten-free lifestyle.  I'm not new to the idea of it - 10 years ago as a student teacher I was impressed by a preschooler turning down a cupcake because she knew to ask whether it was gluten-free before eating it (and as it was only the 3rd day of school, us student teachers had not yet been made aware of her Celiac Disease).  I have since met a couple of other people who have Celiac Disease, but I never dreamed it would hit me.

Then a few random things happened.  One was getting my gallbladder out a few years back.  After that, I noticed that I was having problems processing fatty foods, which my doctor said is normal since the gallbladder helps the body to process fatty foods.  As time went on, things got worse.  I thought it might be a dairy issue, but I then started to notice that eating just cheese did not bother me, but eating pizza and pretzels made me ill.  Rather than get any testing done, I chose to do an elimination diet to check for myself.

November 1, 2012 I went gluten-free.  I have had some problems with hunger (I usually eat a sub or other type of sandwich for lunch - without the bread I'm much less full) but overall I am feeling MUCH better.  More energy, almost no GI issues.  Today I decided to test it.  I had a cheeseburger for lunch - with the bun.  Within an hour I felt terrible.  Tired as if I hadn't slept in a month, spent over an hour in the bathroom, gassy, feeling very nauseated.  I had to miss Stitch & Bitch tonight because I was afraid to be that far from a bathroom (it's a 45 minute drive there & back).

I guess that answers that question.  No more gluten for me - even a little bit.  I'm now on the hunt for gluten-free recipes and ingredients that are affordable so that I can have the bread-type foods that I love without having to feel sick for several hours afterwards.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Today's 5K

This morning I participated in a 5K on the campus of Central Michigan University.

Shortly after the race started - the crowd ahead of us.

Originally, I had planned to train with the C25K program and run this particular race.  As it turned out, training got sidetracked by several factors and I was not able to run.  That means I walked the race.  I did not push myself as hard as I could have, but I am told that I helped to push my friend Deanna hard enough to make her go faster than she would have on her own.  I started the race with two friends, Deanna and Adrienne.  Adrienne set her own pace that was faster than Deanna's.  Had Deanna not been there, I would have pushed myself to keep up with Adrienne.  As it turns out, Adrienne finished about 10-15 minutes earlier than Deanna and I, and we finished the race at 54 minutes, 25 seconds (or thereabouts - the time was started before we crossed the Start line, and I didn't see the clock until we had been finished for about 20 seconds, so I subtracted for the 20 seconds but not for the distance to the Start line).  Official times will be posted on Monday.

Deanna and me shortly after crossing the Finish Line!

This particular race was a Duathlon, meaning that racers had the option to do a bicycle race after finishing the 5K.  I know myself and know that I am in no way in shape for a bike race.  Additionally, my bike is in no shape for a 20 km bike race.  Maybe next year!

Relaxing after the race - Adrienne, me, and Deanna

Friday, April 20, 2012


I'm going to go right on the record and say that an Endometrial Biopsy is not fun.  However, sometimes it is necessary.  Today I had to have one of these biopsies to make sure that there is nothing cancerous growing inside my uterus.  The doctor is fairly certain that the result will come back negative, but this is one of those situations where one is better safe than sorry.
I also got the results from some other testing I had done - a lot of bloodwork and an ultrasound.  All came back normal, with the exception of the ultrasound showing that I have a lot of cysts on my ovaries.  This surprises nobody, least of all me.  I have PCOS, and one of the hallmarks of PCOS is multiple cysts on the ovaries.
Where we go from here depends on the results of my biopsy.  Assuming the biopsy comes back fine, we will move on to fertility treatments.  My next appointment is May 18, and we will be discussing the results of the biopsy and where we go from here at that time.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sorting is Open!

Sorting opened today for the next term in the HPKCHC.  This term, for some reason, I felt inspired to write a poem to the Sorting Hat.  I wanted to save it somewhere, but had trouble figuring out exactly where.  So, as a way to save the poem I wrote, I am putting it in this blog post.

Oh Sir Hat you always bring
Joy to all seasons, Fall, Winter, Spring
The students all wait eagerly
To hear your song of unity

Two terms I have played, this will be my third
Each term I've cherished your every word.
Crafting became more fun when I found the House Cup
My faith in my abilities has gone up and up!

Classes in the castle are so much fun
I only wish I could do every one!
Someday I will manage to craft all the things,
Until then, I'll just be content hear the Hat sing.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

An Injury and Some Planning

I have somehow managed to hurt my right arm.  I think it's related to bad keyboard positioning at work.  Seeing as how that is not going to change any time soon, I'm going to have to find ways to compensate for it.  For right now, that includes no knitting or crocheting for a week.  That makes me sad, and I may cheat.  I'm also going to start doing the ice dipping of my arms again.  That helped tremendously to relieve the pain I was having prior to my carpal tunnel surgery, so it can't hurt to do it again now.

What I can do, though, is plan for more crafty stuff.  The HPKCHC Winter Term will be over on March 31st.  April is an off month, and Summer Term will start in May.  I intend to do an OWL during Summer Term, plus of course my required classwork, and I want to do Quidditch next Term.  I can't plan for Quidditch, and I can't plan too much for classes (one never knows what the prompts will be), but I can do some preliminary OWL planning.  Right now it's a debate between a crocheted blanket depicting the signs of the zodiac or a set of un-coordinated accessories (that, according to the Wizarding World, would be coordinated).  The accessories would be a bag, a pair of socks, and a pair of mittens.  If I accomplish all of those with time to spare, I will also add a hat and/or a scarf.  What I need to figure out is which pair of socks and which pair of mittens I wish to include in my proposal.  The bag I already have figured out - it's a market bag that I've been thinking of making for quite a while and just never got around to it.  Now I'll have a reason to make it.  The socks will probably be a short-leg or maybe even a footie style - I'm going to use the yarn I just dyed and it's not quite enough to make "standard" socks.  I'm going to look for a toe-up pattern for them so I can just knit until I run out of yarn.  Ah, I love to plan projects.  And seeing as it's going to be summer, I need small projects that will not be so large that they rest in my lap a lot.  This also makes them easily portable, which I love at any time of the year.

I also need to get back into making beaded socks and hair bows.  I want to get my etsy shop running again, and make more sales.  Hopefully I can have a productive Spring, and by the time Summer officially begins, I will be ready for craft shows and garage sales! :)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Adventures in Dyeing

I decided to dye some more yarn last night.  Learned a few things in the process.  This was completely different from the last time I dyed yarn, but just as fun.

Step One: Soak the yarn.  I used a vinegar and water mixture.

Step Two: While the yarn is soaking, gather your dying supplies.  For me, for this dye job, my supplies were two glass measuring cups and food coloring, plus vinegar and water.

Step Three: Mix the coloring, the vinegar, and the water in the measuring cups and add yarn.

Be careful with the food coloring.  It will stain your fingers.  Ask me how I know....

Step Four: Let the yarn soak for a while.  If you wish, use a spoon to move the yarn around to make sure all of the yarn gets colored.  Or, move the yarn around with your fingers (hey, if you've already stained your fingers, what's a little more?)

Watch out for splashes that could end up leaving rings of color on your cream-colored countertop.  No need to ask me how I know....

Step Five: When the dye is sufficiently soaked in to the yarn (saturation point is up to you) get ready to heat it up.  To make transport easier, I poured the red section back into this glass baking dish and just made room for the measuring cup with the blue section.  Then I put the whole shebang into the microwave.  I microwaved it on high for 90 seconds at a time, about four times.  Until the water around the red section was clear.

Testing for clear water with a measuring spoon.  Not sure when exactly but obviously during this microwave section I also decided to dump the blue section in with the rest of the yarn.

Step Six: Once the yarn was "done" getting dyed, it was time to rinse.  A teeny squirt of dishsoap into a bowl and a few squishes later and I was pretty much done with the washing/rinsing part.
I carefully squeezed the excess water out and....

Wait, what?  Where did all that extra red in the water come from?
More rinsing and more careful water squeezing ensued, until the water ran clear again.

Step Seven: Hang it up to dry.  I chose to put the drying rack in the kitchen in case of drips.  This time luck WAS on my side - no drips!!
I left it like this to dry overnight.  There were a few damp spots left this morning, but it seemed dry enough overall so I moved on to the next step.

Step Eight: Re-skein the yarn.  Sure, I could have left it as it was and simply twisted it back up, but I wanted the blue to look a little more random, which meant changing the length of the loop before re-twisting.  This particular step also led me to discover that there was a break in this skein, and instead of one, I have two!
Thankfully, they seem to be very close in size.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

February's Loss

I'm sticking with my weight-loss plans for this year, and while I didn't have the roaring success during February that I had in January, I'm happy to say that I still managed a two-pound weight loss.  This despite severely lowering my activity level due to a respiratory illness and not paying nearly as much attention to what I was eating as I did during January.

Weight lost in February: 2 pounds
My total weight lost in 2012 so far: 11 pounds.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

January Success!

The Challenge I participated in during January was a great success!  It was hard for me, but I'm so glad I stuck it out.


I also learned a lot about how to create healthier foods on my budget, and while I know I will still have some processed foods, overall I will be doing my best to keep to whole foods.  Also, I seem to have managed to kick my Coca-Cola habit.  I will have some now and then, but it no longer tastes good enough to me for me to waste the calories on it on a daily basis.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Not Loving This Body

I joined a healthy eating and getting fit challenge for January.  It's kicking my butt!  But I suppose that is the whole point.
The food part is hard because healthy whole foods are expensive.  I can make four meals on one package of hot dogs and four boxes of generic mac-n-cheese for less than $10.  I can't make even one meal using exclusively whole grains/produce/organic on $10.  When my grocery budget averages around $40 for two weeks - it's hard to justify those healthier choices.
I once heard someone say, "Just get produce instead of ice cream or other sweets!" - but when ice cream and those other sweets are just as rare in your house as the produce, that is not really a feasible response.

At least I'm doing well with the workout portion.  I rented a walking workout DVD and one of the Just Dance games for Wii and am having fun with those.  They aren't too hard for my out-of-shape self which is a big plus.  It is very frustrating as an obese person trying to get in shape to have a "beginner" video show only thin people and use almost exclusively high-impact activities.  Those of us who are obese need to start slow because it is harder for us to move.  We can't just jump in to a high aerobic activity and keep up.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Back Again After a Break

 I haven't been around in a while.  I have had a whole lot of not much going on, with the exception of having carpal tunnel surgery on November 2, 2011.

These were taken the same day I had surgery.  I recovered very well, and the scar is already barely showing.  If my hands get cold it will stand out, or if I happen to bang it on something (which still hurts) it will show brighter red than the rest of my hand.

I am already well back into my knitting and other crafts, and am enjoying the lack of pain/numbness that used to go along with these activities!!