Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Random-ness

So things didn't work out exactly as planned so I don't need any help thinking of names. Instead I have a different little visitor for a little while. I'm sure it's not hard to recognize Diego. He's Crystal's 6 month old Papillion that she got a week and a half ago. Unfortunately we have reason to believe he's never relieved outside before and she's having a very rough time potty training him with a 3.5 year old and a 13 month old in the house. Diego is here for a short stay while we try and potty train him reliably, after that we'll see what happens.

He's doing well here, his confidence increases every day and neighborhood walks are helping him realize that every new sound isn't a threat to his life.

He's a definite cuddle bug and is happiest laying beside me on the couch or sitting on my lap at the computer, he'll even sit beside the computer if I let him.

He's had a few accidents inside when I wasn't paying attention to him (Bad dog-lady!) but is progressing well. Right now we're just getting him used to going outside with us not being out there because if we're out there he just looks at us (even if we're out there for an hour +). Him and Teddy are getting on well, although there are of course times when Teddy has to put Diego in his place. Just a part of pack life, of course! Kira is happy to have another playmate but is even happier that when they're not playing he leaves her be. She's such a female!


Today Diego and I walked to my mom's house, he did well until a big yellow lab jumped on the top of his short fence and scared Diego. He's a pansy, really.

I went to my mom's because I knew there would be something in the mail for me there. I had ordered a sterling silver tag with a paw print in the middle of it with Eclipse's name and Dagaii Shinin stamped on it. The tag is on my keychain and just a memento of the relationship and love Eclipse and I shared. A simple, subtle reminder that he will always be with us, even if it is just in our hearts, no matter how long it is until we see him again. Our love isn't determined by physically being with him, despite what some likely think.

I think the tag turned out phenomenally, even if my junky little camera can't capture it.

For those with curious minds, Dagaii Shinin means White Face in Gwi'chin, Alex's "native" language. (The language his people speak, he knows a few words but isn't fluent by any means like all of the younger generations. It, sadly, seems to be a dieing language, one that I would love to learn!) Literally it says "face shining" but is how White Face would be translated. It's special to me and something I relate to Eclipse because his face was so much lighter than the rest of him and still is a bit even to this day.

In Celiac news, we've done a lot of "exploring" this week. Today it's been one whole week without gluten! Yay!

Let's see, we've tried gluten free noodles (made with rice flour), gluten free chocolate chip cookies (from a box mix), gluten free brownie mix and homemade gluten free banana bread! May I just say how GOOD bread is! I haven't had any form of bread in over a month and the banana bread absolutely hit the spot. It's delicious, even if I'm not the most gracious cook/baker. Alex can't keep his paws off the stuff! It's going to be gone quickly but I'm going to be buying bananas in bulk and letting them get over-ripe just so I can make banana bread! I can't wait to try making real bread, although my lack of grace in the kitchen may have more dire consequences with real bread ;-)

The noodles were great too! I need to make some spaghetti with the noodles I have, now to just find the motivation as I'm not a huge spaghetti fan. (ate it too much with my dad as a kid, blah) The cookies were pretty good, the texture was a bit wierd, my mom calls it "sandy", but they weren't bad and the brownies are a bit heavy but good. The taste isn't as rich but I think it's due in part that we're used to fudge brownies. They're great if you drink milk with them!

More exploring and experimenting is to come! Stay tuned as adventures in bread and noodle making are sure to come since all the females in our immediate family need them in their house for one reason or another. Coreena and I obviously have Celiac Disease (diagnosed when we were babies at the Seattle Children's Hospital), Mom has gluten sensitivity to one extent or another, whether she believes us or not (:-P) and Aiden is believed to have Celiac, again a definite gluten sensitivity. Our first adventure is sure to be fun to report about to ya'll!

Ally, Teddy, Kira and Diego (and somebody else coming soon)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Success! And not...

Going gluten-free is harder than it sounds, even knowing that it hides in many forms in many things. I don't know how sensitive I am at this point, but I don't really plan on finding out. I've been completely gluten-free since Wednesday when I had gobstoppers. No, they don't have gluten in them, but they're made on the same equipment as gluten containing products. It's called contamination, but I think of it as them being laced, like with a drug or something. They did make me sick, but other things don't, like the cashews I ate yesterday that were also produced on equipment that processes food containing gluten. In fact, I feel great! Well, other than my chest killing me! It's hurt since I woke up this morning. Chest pain is a normal occurrence for me, although it's never lasted quite this long. Insurance should come next week, I hope! and a doctor's visit is at the top of my priority list!

Thanks to Martha's reminder that Fred Meyer's does in fact have a gluten free section I decided I was staying there until I found it on Friday. It didn't take me long, as soon as I quit walking just at the front and back of the store.... funny how some signs are only seen from the middle aisle!

We found some good stuff (I hope!) like this "all purpose baking mix" which is, essentially, a mixture of other types of flours.
A box of Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Mix. It's a blue box with all sorts of pastries on the front of it
You may notice the "Improved Texture" note on it. I sure hope it's improved! My pickiest thing about food is their texture. I hate pancakes because of their texture and don't get me started on blueberries. Gluten free food is an alternate to things that are usually made with wheat, rye or barley (among others). To make them other types of flours are used, such as rice flour. Rice flour is NASTY! I mean, you want to know what it tastes like? Just get some chalk, write on a chalkboard (do those still exist?) and eat the dust. I'm serious. Gag-worthy doesn't begin to describe it. I'm holidng out hope though! Shelly sent me a link to a gluten free blog that has a ton of recipes on it and also gives me hope that it is possible to make bread that not only has as good of texture as bread made with white flour or whole wheat bread but even better! Now to just to get a bread machine and recipes... and learning to follow recipes would be helpful I do believe.
A white, red and blue bag from The Cravings Place Remember Those Cravings...Indulge Again Ooey Gooey Chocolatey Chewy Brownie Mix
I also got this brownie mix. We'll see how it turns out, I'll report back to you! I hope to make some banana bread tomorrow, gluten free of course! I have enough bananas for two batches, I'll make just one first to see if it's okay, if not the other will be made with white flour so at least some people can enjoy it :-D

I have to say, my Celiac kicking into high gear is definitely a blessing in disguise. Even though I'm on a sugar kick right now (it's amazing how many types of candy does not contain gluten at all! Soft serve ice cream without a cone! YUM!) my diet is becoming much more balanced and I feel good about that. Before i looked for what sounded good, or was appealing to me, but I'm beginning to think of what is good for me first and then what sounds good. Yeah, there are still cereals I can eat for those times when I'm too tired to cook, but I eat a lot of salads (steak salad, shrimp salad, chicken salad, salad salad, lol), fruits, vegetables, potatoes!, and nice, well balanced meals. I just need to get in gear and start preparing my lunch for work, seeing as nothing available at work is gluten free. I hope the gluten free recipe book I ordered will be here soon and help with the meal planning dilemna!

The bad part about Celiac? I'm either completely stuffed (like I want to barf stuffed) or insatiably hungry. The other night I literally had that hole in the stomach feeling where I just had to eat something at 10 p.m. I'd already had a salad and two quesadillas on corn tortillas, not to mention my snacking. Two carrots did the trick, enough so I could sleep anyway. No wonder I could go until 2 p.m. without feeling hungry before and another day be starving the moment I woke up and the entire rest of the day. Stupid Celiac ;-)

In other news, Alex and I got a new puppy. He's a little cutie and Kira just absolutely loves him. You see, there's a hole left in our hearts and home where Eclipse belongs that we just had to fill, even if it is temporary and inadequate. The new little guy doesn't have a name yet as we've yet to learn his personality. Any suggestions?
A blue stuffed dog with a black nose and ears and yellow feet. He's made out of a corduroy type material
Kira holding one leg of the stuffed dog in her mouth while the rest of him dangles to the floor. She's laying down looking at the camera
Okay, so yes, I'm a complete dork, but don't hate me because of that ;-) Keep an eye on us, you never know what may show up, or what I'll need help finding a name for!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Go, Diego, Go

We got a new addition to the family last night, but he's not living with us! Crystal has been looking for a puppy for Emily for a little while and was planning on getting a female chihuahua puppy in about 6 weeks, but we had other plans that developed yesterday. We have a friend who is going through a hard time and has dogs she needs to get rid of, one of them being a little female chihuahua. We went out to look at her for Emily but decided it wouldn't be a good fit. Interestingly enough, she also had a male Pappillion needing a home. He adorable, I'd guess around 5 pounds and roughly 6 months old. As soon as we got him to my mom's we gave him a bath... he wasn't thrilled!
Diego right after his bath. He's wrapped in a burgundy towel with his big wet ears sticking up. He has brown ears and around his eyes. Black around his muzzle and a white stripe between eyes to the tip of his nose
After he dried off a bit we called Crystal (she had no idea!) and she came over to meet him. He's had very little socialization and has rarely, if ever, been around more than the lady that had him so he was extremely shy and nervous.
Diego curled up on the dark green carpet. His head is tucked into his body. His body is mostly white with brown splotches
He's a real cuddlebug though, and did pretty well. He was a bit overwhelmed but all things considered he handled things great! We had to find a name that not only fit the puppy but also that Emily could say because he's her puppy. We went through quite a few before Crystal settled on "Diego" from Dora the Explorer. Emily says it "Eggo".
close up of Diego's face
The original plan was for me to keep him for at least a couple days and get him comfortable living in a house with more than one person and work on potty training and socialization. Crystal decided she didn't like that idea though and took him home last night. He's quite timid at her house still, all he does is lay on the couch, although he is beginning to play with Emily just a tad.
Diego in the backyard looking over his shoulder. His ears are perked and his tail is up. Remy's black tail is in the foreground of the photo
We all converged on our mom's house again today and of course Diego joined us. Him and my mom's Chihuahua "Remy" are about the same size, Remy's thicker and Diego is slightly taller but they make good playmates.
Remy and Diego playing. Remy is running at Diego and three of Diego's feet are off the ground
He did really well at our mom's today, he was happy and his tail was up and he wasn't as afraid of everything. He's not 100% a normal dog yet, but he's getting there. Hopefully he gets there soon at his own home!
Diego standing alertly on the porch looking to just right of the camera. His shiny silver tag is clearly visible
He sure is a darling puppy and we all just adore him. It's definitely been decided that even if Crystal can't keep him for whatever reason that he'll stay in the family
Diego sitting on the couch. He's alert, looking to the right of the camera with a worried expression on his face
There may be more coming soon in regards to Diego's fellow critters at his old home. You'll have to stay tuned to see what will be happening, if anything.
Almost identical picture as the one above but he's looking at the camera and the worried look is gone
How could you not love that face!?!


Monday, January 18, 2010

G-Free Is The Way For Me!

I was diagnosed with Celiac when I was a baby, in fact when Coreena and I were both diagnosed is the first time it was "for sure" that we are identical twins. (They didn't know before because our placentas were fused together, they were unable to determine if they were one that was splitting or two that had fused) For most of our lives though, we ate whatever we wanted. In fact we craved things with wheat and other grains; Wheat Thins, breads, crackers, rolls, biscuits, cereals, burritos, etc.

When I was 15 I went through some major emotional trauma of my own doing. I started displaying symptoms but we didn't know what the cause was. My joints would hurt and throb, I had intestinal issues, headaches, I was blacking out at times, a lot of scary things. I never went to a doctor for it (my whole family tends to avoid doctors if at all possible) and we just figured it would go away and tentatively self-diagnosed as lupus.

Yet life continued on, I kept my grades up in school, continued my social life and my symptoms would come and go. I got the job at The Wildlife Safari and was the healthiest I've ever been in my life, yet my stomach was still a bit distended and my muscles somewhat weak. Almost everyday I had a sandwhich for lunch, either a burger from the restaurant or one I brought from home. Towards the end of my experience at the Safari my body began telling me it couldn't do it anymore, the muscle pain was getting unbearable and I was feeling awful. I thought it was from pushing myself too much.

At 18 I was going to get a new guide dog puppy since I was finally in a position to do so. Then I blacked out a couple times. We decided it'd be better to wait until after I got diagnosed and on a treatment for my blackouts so as to prevent possible harm to myself and/or the puppy.

At the beginning of 2008 I began feeling worse, constant headaches, stomachaches and fatigue, but I had too much going on in my life to pay much notice to it. It wasn't much worse than it had been, was it? Alex and I pressed on with our relationship and wedding plans, him knowing full well that I had a possible autoimmune disease. In April I came down with an unidentified infection. The infection looked like strep but wasn't, they have no idea what it was,or where all it was in my body. I was on an antibiotic four times a day for a couple weeks. Shortly thereafter my symptoms got worse and I started gaining weight.

From our wedding in August '08 to January '09 I gained 30-40 pounds, inexplicably. The nurse practitioner was concerned I had hypothyroidism and ordered a blood test to check my thyroid hormone levels. It was all we could do to pay for that stupid blood test that said everything was normal. Due to the degree of my symptoms I was told I needed to go see a doctor, there was no way we could afford it unfortunately.

My symptoms got worse and worse. Riding the two hours to Salem for puppy class was torture on my joints and the days left me so fatigued I could sleep for days afterwards.

In November of last year my symptoms got worse. I left work early a couple days due to flu-like symptoms and subsequently missed 5 weeks of work due to stomach cramps, fatigue, sore joints/tendons/muscles, intestinal upset, depression and anxiety.

I thought it was likely a lupus flair, and it could have been. Then my mom mentioned, once again, that it could be Celiac Disease. This time I took her seriously and did research. I cut out bread from my diet and noodles yet I was still quite ignorant. I got yogurt covered pretzels and licorice, I was eating yogurt for breakfast, cottage cheese with fruit for lunch and some sort of meat and side dish for dinner.

My main meals were fine (well, the yogurt could have been an issue) it was the snacks that were killing me. I missed nearly a week of work again from eating my pretzels and licorice. (Licorice is flavored with gluten) Saturday I got smart, quit putting off the inevitable and decided to get more informed. I bought this book



Going G-free is so much harder than it sounds. Gluten is the protein in grains, so anything with grains in it, is out. (Grains included are Wheat, Barley and Rye) Gluten is used to thicken things, bind things, bake things. Most things will be obvious, or at least tell you, that they have wheat in them. Yet grains have many names and are in many ingredients. It gets very depressing to see all that you can't have, so I try and focus on what I can.

I love chips, they're my downfall. I can still have my salt saturated potatoe chips, corn chips and tortilla chips. I can have all types of meat (unless it's breaded), fruits, vegetables, dairy products (for the most part), things made with corn (corn tortillas which I'm getting used to, corn bread, corn flakes etc), popcorn, soups (without noodles), and potatoes. Thankfully there are many more G-Free things available for purchase now than there were years ago, currently I have G-Free noodles and bread in my house.


We live in a small town and I have yet to visit the health food stores, but in the short time I've been going G-Free I've had a good experience. Of course there have been slip-ups, I ate Mentos Saturday night, they hare made with wheat syrup or something of the sort. I was on the couch a half hour later suffering from stomach cramps and wanting to vomit. The G-free bread I got is made with White Rice Flour and is absolutely, one hundred percent, disgusting! I was so excited to be able to have a sandwich after a few weeks not eating bread and couldn't wait to eat it. First bite I wanted to gag. It was like eating chalk dust, no kidding. I managed to eat most of it, but threw the last couple bites away (after eating the cheese, chicken and pickle off it). I can't bring myself to throw the 5 dollar loaf of bread away just yet, but I'm getting close.

Going G-Free is a difficult, long and somewhat depressing process. You go in a store and 90% of the things in that store you can't eat without getting sick. Gluten is in everything. Things that don't have gluten could be contaminated with gluten, which will still make you sick.

It's worth it though, after a successful day of steering clear of gluten yesterday I feel better today than I have in months, possibly more than a year. I'd like to share my journey of living G-Free with all of you, so this blog will be dual-purpose, a G-Free living/Puppy Raising blog. (The roles will I'm sure reverse when I get a pup /grin/)

G-Free living isn't just good for those with Celiac Disease or Gluten sensitivity on any level. G-Free diets have been shown (yet are still being studied) to help lessen the effects of ADD/ADHD, austism, autoimmune disease symptoms and the forming of autoimmune diseased and cancers. Alex is going to try going G-free with me, it's a great weight loss/maintenance lifestyle. It's not a short-term change, either. I'll have to be G-Free for the rest of my life. It will be hard to begin with to change the way I view food, before I ate what tasted good, but I'm beginning to think first of what is good for me, then what I think tastes good /wink/

Time to go make a delicious G-Free lunch!

Want more information? Visit http://www.gfreediet.com/


Friday, January 15, 2010

General Explanation

I know my blog has been very quiet, lacking all the charm and eloquent writing it normally posesses! (HA!)

I suppose I should explain why. As most of you know I have been struggling with my health for quite some time. I am sure that many of you think that I'm sick because I'm in a "state" about Eclipse, but that's not true. I've been dealing with untreated hypothyroidism and a mystery disease for more than a year now and now my Celiac that I've had since I was young has decided to not only progress but do as much damage as it possibly can. In just a short time I've gone from being able to eat a slice or two of bread to being very sick for two days if I eat anything with gluten in it, period. I've been attempting to go on a strict gluten-free diet, but it's much harder than it sounds. Obviously anything with wheat in it is out, so anything made with flour and other grains, which includes all crackers, breads, cereals, noodles and at this point, oats. But gluten isn't always obvious. Mayonnaise contains gluten, so anything containing mayonnaise is also out of my diet, including ranch dressing. If you followed that it means, for the most part, I am currently restricted to fruits, vegetables and meats. Cheeses I can eat, as long as they're aged. Yogurt and cottage cheese, it depends. Some have gluten, others don't.

As you can see, my health issues have been taking up a lot of my time and my writing inspiration. Charlie was here for a week, but I posted very little about him. Partly in due to my health, partly in due to another obvious reason.

I know that many of you think I'm obsessed with Eclipse and that it's unhealthy. I look at it this way; when Alex is gone I miss him. If he's gone long enough I cry because I miss him. That's what love does, you want to be with who you love. I love Eclipse, more than most people can understand. Eclipse isn't just a dog to me, I love him like my son. We went through so much together, both physical, mental and emotional. We overcame hurdles just to fall over the next one. He is connected to so many things that have happened in my life, when I cry for him, I cry for more than just him. I cry for the loss of my cousin, my father, my nephew who died before he was 8 weeks old. I cry for the loss of my health and stamina, I cry because of the anxiety the car wreck we were in together, I cry because there is an empty place in my home and I cry because I miss Eclipse more than anyone will ever know. I cry because my husband cries for Eclipse. All connected to one little golden boy. He pulled our heartstrings as soon as we met him, on day three (more than a year ago now) we knew he'd be coming home if he were career changed.

I know some figure that since I haven't seen him for so long that my love shouldn't be strong, but in reality "distance makes the heart grow fonder" and that is certainly the truth in this case.


I'm being quiet because I don't want to offend anybody and I don't want to constantly refer to Eclipse. I don't want to share the inner workings (lol) of my health issues with the world and it's hard to share my pain and to try and portray the depth of my love for Eclipse. I'm not obsessed, I'm in love and when you're in love, you'll do anything for the one you love, whether or not that means hurting yourself.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

More Moe

*Note: I'll add photo descriptions later, right now it's time to get Moe ready to go to work*

Yeah, "Charlie" no longer exists, he's definitely a Moe!

I'm keeping him a little longer than planned, he was supposed to go back to Coreena's last night, but he's hanging out here until at least Thursday. No particular reason for the change, other than I want to work with him a bit on paying attention when walking and his response times to commands.

He's officially back at work, too. I was quite concerned that the new 150+ reps on the floor would be real obnoxious about him but they weren't. They were actually very respectful and quite intriqued by the doodle.

We went on a walk on our lunch and he's got great eye contact when it's requested of him. I asked for eye contact when there were two pit bulls being walked in front of us and he was very interested and he gave it. He's coming along nicely, even though it's easy to forget that he's only 9 months old!

He was ready to go when 2:30 came along, as was I. Too bad we had to stay until 4:30. Eventually he settled back down and took a nap but at 3 when the phones went down he provided some great entertainment for the subsequent 1.5 hours!

He was so happy to come home! He wanted to carry something on our way to the car so I gave him my soda, no doubt Moe is on happy dog!

Friday, January 1, 2010

No Moe!

That's what the dogs are crying anyways!

Teddy laying under the computer desk with his head against the leg, he appreciates a pillow, even if it's hard. He's awake and ears are perked
After having a miniature breakdown this morning from realizing that there is very little I can eat in this house (celiac appears to be back with a vegeance!) Coreena mentioned the dog park. So after my mini-breakdown and being sick on the couch with very little cleaning involved Alex and I met Coreena and Max at the dog park. Oh yes, the dogs joined us as well, all of the but little Rizzo.

Charlie laying on the floor looking at the camera mid-blink with his back legs spread out behind 'frog dog'
The dogs had a grand ole' time, Eva and Charlie running their fool heads off, Teddy trying to herd all the dogs at the park and Kira strolling around smelling all the smells but looking a little lost (as usual). We were there for a full 45 minutes with a Siberian Husky, Maltese/Shitzu, Border Collie (that appeared to have Sheltie thrown in, very tiny 19 month old female) and a toy poodle. Towards the end a dominant Chihuahua mix showed up. We only left then because Eva made it very apparent that she was ready to go home and Teddy was getting a bit over-stimulated. I'm always cautious when taking him to the dog park because some dogs don't like being herded...

Kira laying down with her head on the floor, the photo is taken from her right side
After the dog park Coreena and I took the dogs to the pet store to get the kids some more food while Alex and Max got Chinese food for dinner (yum). Then it was home to eat, a short walk for the dogs after Coreena, Max and Eva left and then clean the house time.

Eva, Charlie, Teddy and Kira outside the sliding glass door looking in. Eva and Teddy are dark red in color, Kira and Charlie are very light. Their colors alternate in this photo
Charlie's here for the weekend, he'll go home after work on Monday. It's nice to have a big dog in the house again. The new food he's on is doing him a ton of good. He's on three cups a day right now (I'm upping that to 4 cups a day, he needs to beef up a bit) and is looking so much better than he was on 6 cups of that other food. Eva and Charlie have taught me something, with Kira's help. I know people are used to looking at a dog's "tuck" to determine if they're over/underweight, but it's not always that easy. Eva is at her healthiest weight when she has very little "tuck", Kira never has a tuck and Charlie has a pretty significant tuck. It all depends on their body shape, a golden should have less of a tuck than a lab, a poodle more, but it still depends more on the individual dog than the breed. Their body shapes vary, as do their healthy weights. Saying a dog is at a good weight because they're within 5 lbs of another dog of the same breed is misguided and ignorant since their body shapes, proportions and sizes vary greatly. Lesson learned :-D
Teddy, Kira and Charlie meet me at the door. Charlie has a stuffed toy in his mouth and you can't see his face, Teddy and Kira are looking at meCharlie laying on the dog bed in the living room, it's a very large crate bed with a crocheted blanket on it in blues, browns and whitesCharlie stretched out on the floor with his head on the floor. He looks exhausted