Monday, December 21, 2009


Last year's gluten-free roll-out sugar cookies were, well... okay. Not fabulous. I found a recipe that made me happy because it rolled out so easily, yay! But the taste wasn't great. They were made with oil rather than butter, and I blame the oil.

I looked around on the internet for gf roll out cookie recipes, and found a few that looked good. I always look to Gluten Free Gobsmacked, Gluten Free Girl, Living Without Magazine, and a few others. GF Girl and Living Without had a similar recipe, so I gave one or the other of them a try. I can't remember which is which now. The dough is sitting in the fridge right now. It seems a bit too loose to roll out, though. *sigh*

The gluten-filled cookie baking has also started. The pistachio biscotti are cooling on the rack right now, and the dough for the gluten roll out cookies is also cooling. It is quite firm, and will roll out very well. I'll also be making almond biscotti, date balls (we call them Christmas crack, they are so addictive!), and perhaps some gingerbread, if there is time. I also found out that the Italian pignoli cookies, which are soooo yummy, are gluten free! Almond paste, sugar, confectioner's sugar, egg whites, pine nuts. I'd like to make those, too. Like most GF cookies, I think the shelf life is pretty short for these. I wonder if they freeze well...

The roads were clear enough today to get out of the house, and the snow plow cleared our road last night, so I was able to get out to the store. I stopped at Trader Joe's to pick up pistachios and pine nuts, flour and other goodies. They were cooking a baked bread pudding made out of their panettone bread. They added milk, eggs, cinnamon, sugar, vanilla... oh, it was yummy! They were also walking around handing out samples of their fruit filled chocolate truffles. I tried the pomegranite. MMMM.

Then, of course, I had to go to the "regular" grocery store to pick up supplies that were not available at Trader Joes -- gushers, which are Daniel's sugar of choice when his blood sugar goes low, cream cheese, and some spices. And in a few minutes I will go to YET ANOTHER grocery store -- the organic place -- where I can get more xanthan gum and some GF supplies. Wow, it would be so nice to have one store that sold all that stuff!

Okay, time to get the boots back on...

In a few minutes I have to go to the

Friday, December 18, 2009


The first phone problem was weather-related. Or so we thought, because what happened was, every time it rained, we got a horrible buzz sound on our phone line. So we called Verizon and told them the problem, and invariably they would come and check it out on a nice, sunny day, and there would be no problem with the line. Hmph.

Finally it happened that the repairman arrived on a rainy day (after much complaining to Verizon). He said yes, there is a problem! He checked the box outside the house, then took his long ladder off of his truck, and climbed the telephone pole across the street. Then he left for a while. His truck was gone for about an hour, but the ladder was still up against the pole (with an orange cone next to it for safety). He came back climbed up the pole, changed something, and then came to the door and asked me to check the line. Yay! The buzz was gone! I thanked him.

The next day, the fax noises started. We had no problem calling out. But when the phone rang and we picked up, it sounded like someone was trying to fax us. I thought whoever was doing it would finally figure out that we are not waiting on a fax.

But then, my husband was out, and he called home. And his phone call produced the fax tone. He asked me if our fax machine was plugged in. I double checked it -- and NO, the machine was not plugged into the wall at all! Not the electricity plug, not the phone line -- NOTHING. After a couple of days we figured out that if we grabbed the phone on the first ring, we wouldn't hear the fax tone. If we let it ring more than once, the fax tone would scream during the phone call. We could hear the caller, and they could hear us -- only in between the fax screeches.

So, of course, we called Verizon again. They let us know that their repair schedule was very busy, but they could get to us within about 10 days. But wait, we said, this was caused by the person who just repaired the line! Can you come back?

back and forth and back and forth with supervisor

Okay, we'll make it a week. Ugh. So for the past week we've been diving for the phone to catch it on the first ring.

Yesterday it was supposed to be fixed. My daughter got an automated message on our answering machine from Verizon saying the problem was fixed.... followed by a screeching fax tone. So I called Verizon and explained that the problem was not fixed. The gentleman on the phone told me that the case was closed, so they had to open a new case, and someone could come by... well, they are very busy.... January 6th or 7th.

NO! Then I went round and round with the guy about how the case is not closed, it is NOT fixed, they have to come back and do what they were supposed to do THAT DAY. Nothing helped. Fine. I hung up in disgust.

Luckily my husband had the name of the supervisor he had spoken to originally, who had scheduled the repair for yesterday. They scheduled someone to arrive today. Between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Very convenient.

Is it time to drop the home phone? Is there anyone out there who no longer has a land line, and just uses cell service? I'm wondering if it is something we should do....

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Talking to the Universe

I teach a wonderful 6th grade class at our UU church. It's the "Growing Up Year," where we visit different houses of worship and learn about many religions, including our own. I think it is a way not only to build tolerance of others by finding common ground and dispelling mysteries, it is also a way to pin down and put into words what it is that we believe. Quite an accomplishment for 11-12 year old kids.

Today we did a follow up class to several different field trips, and we had the kids write down what beliefs they remembered from their visits. We put signs up on the wall -- Totally, firmly agree; agree; unsure corner; hm... disagree; and totally, firmly disagree. Then we read the beliefs out loud, and we all had to move around the room to stand under the sign that matches our feeling about a belief.

Sometimes the wording of these beliefs can change where I stand. There's "I believe that prayer works," versus "Meditation gives me peace of mind." Is there a difference between prayer and meditation? One seems to be TO a deity, while the other is turned inward. However, if you believe that god, or a holy spirit, or the great life force is within all of us, then meditation can be considered prayer TO the deity within. These are some of the tricky questions the 6th graders wrestle with -- as do I.

I tend to ask the universe for a lot. It's kind of like throwing spaghetti up on the wall -- at some point something will stick. I don't know what's out there in the universe, but perhaps something holy is listening. (Not last week, though. We didn't get that snow day). And yet, when I'm talking to the "universe," I feel like I'm actually sinking deep inside of myself. That's more like a description of meditation.

There's also that whole "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" way of prayer/meditation. If you want something in your life, imagine it is already there. So I spend lots of time imagining (in a background sort of way, while I'm getting on with daily life) that diabetes has been cured. That scientists have found the key to autoimmune diseases. That life got a little easier. It calms me down. Is it "working?" I don't know. Maybe it will, but I won't know in my lifetime. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to see this part of my imagination come to life. Then I'll *really* have a great lesson to bring to class! How I'd love to stand under that "Firmly, Totally Agree" sign when it comes to the power of prayer!

These kids I teach -- they are wonderful. So expressive, full of wonder, and so very intelligent. They made me think about all this STUFF (as they say) today, as they do each week. So today, in addition to asking the universe for so many things, I'd like to thank it for sending me this particular group of wonderful kids. Thanks for my co-teacher, who makes me laugh. Thanks for this wonderful UU community, which feels like home.