Archive for November, 2009



November 23, 2009

I think it’s been a while now since I wrote about food but it’s right near the top of the list in what I’ve been working with lately. When I first got to school I was excited to get back to baking budget friendly snacks; crackers and muffins in particular. It was all going well for a few weeks and then I started to notice that it wasn’t all agreeing with me. Of course I continued baking for a little while longer.

At the same time, the naturopath I’ve been seeing here was pointing towards my possible challenges with gluten. Having been wheat free for the better part of 7 years I didn’t listen very well at first. Doh! During this time the variety of grains I’ve been using has been on steady slide with spelt being the only thing in my cupboard here. I didn’t truly wake up to my possible gluten challenges until after a couple of restless nights in late October when I was using barley rather than the usual buckwheat in a magic bag to warm my bed. It was as if I’d just eaten an offending food before slipping into bed. It took hours to fall asleep, the sleep never lasted for long and I would feel soooo tired the next day. Quite simply, I should have known better.

I’m hopeful that my body will accept spelt, barley etc. more pleasantly after a bit of a sabbatical so lately I’ve been testing out gluten free. I started with Bob’s GF rolled oats* that I was grinding up in the blender to make flour. This form of oat flour doesn’t take up as much liquid as spelt but it seemed to work well for cookies. Then I had the nerve to try making muffins. Fail!

I was quite defeated by the muffin failure and it took a good 10 days or so for me to recover enough to start looking at what else might work. Fortunately I have some familiarity with the other options since Kevin has been gluten free for the past few years. Mind you, he can’t have corn or soy and I can’t have rice. He’s been doing his own baking ever since his gluten discovery. I’ve helped find recipes but that’s about it. I’ve often felt bad about this but somehow unable to get past it and just try making something I can’t sample. Sadly, I think this new hyper-sensitivity to gluten may be just what I needed. Being able to provide food, especially of the baking variety, has been so important for me and I’ve really felt the void these past few years.

This weekend I got Kevin to share some of the recipes he’s got at home and I’ve stocked up on almond flour, sorghum flour, tapioca flour, arrowroot flour and xantham gum. No doubt it’s going to take some work but I suspect there are far more vegan GF baking resource out there now. If you know of any I’d be happy to learn.

Oh, and after about 3 weeks of searching I finally found buckwheat pasta for less than $10 a package. It’s made in China but at this point I don’t much care. I can eat pasta again and we’ll be able to share the same pot of food when I get home. Yay!

* Oats are a problem with some GF folks but so far so good for me. I also know from tests that I had done in university that I don’t have celiac disease.


once a week

November 22, 2009

The past 3 weeks since the torch relay have just flown by! We spent the better part of 2 weeks in the classroom and then this past week we returned to painting, our woodworking project and a new block on high school. It was so great, but at the same time, emotions were running pretty high and that made the week far more exhausting that I had expected it to be. We made it through though, and now it’s a mere three weeks until I’m at home in my own bed. I’ll be making a bit of a strange detour to Kevin’s staff party but I’m sure it will be fun!

How I want to use this space seems to keep evolving and right now I’m going to make it my goal to post once a week, more if I have the time and energy. I’m pretty sure I can do that! I want to have some of the documentation for this year so I think a weekly post can help do that while balancing my need to do lots of other things.

Some of the cool things from these weeks in review:
– Participating in my first ever lantern walk and learning a bit about St. Martin by way of the grade two play.
– Learning a little bit about how to maintain order in the classroom.
– Seeing how important it is for stories to appeal to the different temperaments. It was a pleasant surprise to see what some of the seemingly least attentive students could remember during our review the next day.
– Authentically providing just enough emotional support to a child that was hurt. (Growing up I didn’t feel like much of a girl because sympathy and empathy were foreign to me. I have a lot of ground to cover but I’m catching up.)
– Having a long lost university friend/hockey teammate and his wife over for dinner and a visit.
– Catching up on life, hockey and exploring downtown with a friend from my SFU years.
– Going contra dancing with leather soled slippers – a big upgrade from the birks I wore last time. My real dance shoes arrived two days too late but they’re ready and waiting for the next dance.
– Joining my classmates and the high school students in a singing session. There were fun songs of yester years and today: the Beatles; John Denver; Peter, Paul and Mary and more.
– Dipping beeswax candles for the first time ever! This has been on my bucket list for 20 years or so and last year I came close when I helped toddlers do this at our Christmas fair. This time I actually got to participate in a set up that was geared towards adults and best of all, I was able to do it with friends. I enjoyed it so much that I did it twice. Once with my classmates, and the next day when the childless contingent of water girls came to visit.

winter crafting

There were a number of challenges this week but the biggest one was quite a surprise. I was so excited when we were introduced to a new game – space ball – this week and I didn’t even think about what risks there might be to my bones. That was a pleasant surprise until I fell. In the past decade nearly every fall has resulted in a wrist fracture. I can only recall one exception and I’m quite pleasantly surprised to be able to add this too the list. It’s still surprising though, given how hard I fell and the impact reverberated through my whole body. It easily took half the day for me to return to some state of normal and I feel like I’m still recovering from the shock. I’m not sure what the universe is trying to tell me but clearly I need to pay better attention!

And as if that wasn’t enough, while taking the photo for this post, I dropped my camera and it took 20 minutes to make it workable again. The shutter no longer works so I think it’s days may be numbered…agh.


taking a breather

November 8, 2009

Since coming back from the torch relay I’ve been on practicum. Between that, the much longer commute, and trying to stay healthy (I’ve spend more time with sickies lately) I haven’t had much time for the computer. Hopefully that will change in another week or two, but in the meantime I think it’s best if I remove myself from this space for a little while.

I hope you’re enjoying this great fall weather. It hardly feels like time to be working on Christmas and solstice gifts when it’s almost 20 degrees out!


the olympics are coming

November 2, 2009

Back in 1988, I remember being excited about the Calgary Olympics. My family collected the mugs from the gas station and we watched as much of the games as we could on TV. In more recent years, people I’ve known through swimming, hockey and school have made it to the Olympics as competitors but I was just never that good. I still regret that I didn’t find a way to get to the Sydney Olympics but when Vancouver won their bid back in 2003 I knew I would find a way to be involved this time around. I remember that moment too!

Not knowing where we were going to be this year has made it hard to get involved in the Vancouver Olympics to the extent that I had once hoped so when I had the chance to enter the lottery for a spot on the torch relay I knew I had to do it. (A one day commitment somewhere in Canada would be a whole lot easier than trying to find housing and transportation near the Olympics while they were on.) I remembered the hype around the relay in 1988 and it went within a few blocks of our house. We also knew people who got to carry the torch in town.

This past summer when I was second guessing my decision about where to go to school I got word that I would be a torch bearer during our fall break. I took that as a sign that I was making the right decision and earlier today I ran my 300 metres. Friends and family were there to cheer me on and it was such a great afternoon. The words to describe it seem to be escaping me but I know they’ll find their way. In the meantime here are a couple of the photos…