Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Behind the Scenes

Three cars arrive at 5, the girls begin unwinding cords & plugging in their mics. Tho they are smiling & exchanging news, they quickly get down to business, practicing an ever growing repetory of music - we're 'Girls Night Out,' & we call square dance!

When I began taking Square Dance lessons last September, little did I know that 8 months later I'd be calling! Since we began last spring, we've met weekly to practice, & called 'tips' at three dances!
Summer has been a bit harder, we've missed a few rehearsals, but when we met yesterday, there were few glitches.

On the weekend we did several demos - two senior care facilities on Friday evening, & at the Amity 'pancake breakfast' Sunday morning. Club members are 'promenading' in the photo below.

we've been booked for our first full dance - Sept 11 for the Sweet Home 'Squarenaders!'
Our caller Leonard recently became their club caller, but had a prior commitment for that Saturday, so GNO has been booked to do the dance! So we have been working on some new songs - last night we practiced 16!

As Charlotte & I visited after rehearsal last night, I thought again how fortunate we are to renew this friendship! I moved to Breitenbush about the time she began calling & remarried, & we lost touch. Oh, we knew HOW to reach each other, but we rarely did. Another blogger wrote of her experience reconnecting with her college roommate after a 20 year hiatus - I feel the same!

Monday, July 19, 2010

New Phone

After almost FOUR YEARS with my first cell phone, I've got a new phone!! I loved it when the guy at the phone shop said 'you can't really upgrade from that phone!' that it was pretty bullet proof (yes, four years of being dropped & run down & . . . my daughter's been through 4 or 5 in that time)
. . . but we've switched plans, my daughter now 'shares' with her hubby's plan, & I'm on my son's plan . . .
so there was an 'upgrade' credit we'd loose if I didn't get a new phone . . . .

Bless his heart, the sales rep, Mark, took in my 'deer in the headlights' look on being faced with the choices, & recommended one (I'd told him my 'basics') . . . how fun!! I 'could have' gone online with my old phone, with its small screen & number type pad. . . today I booked my first on-line apt using my phone!! & have transfered some of the phone #s etc . . . & run down the battery . . . & taken some awesome pics - wow! (these were 'old phone' photos - & darn it, I just learned how to 'zoom!' . . .

I'm still trying to figure out how to add photos for folks' contact info (if I have the pic in my phone or on my facebook page I've been able to do it) . . .

Meanwhile, I played for weddings the last two weekends, both at wineries, both on lovely days, with georgeous views. Last week my donation of harp music had been 'won' at an auction; this week I played for both wedding AND the cocktail hour, & the weather was perfect!
I had to pose Rowan with the wine barrels last weekend (Willamette Valley Vineyards) & on Sat (Wine Country Farms) by a hop vine. Thus ends the summer's weddings - unless someone decided, last minute, they must have a harper!

Weekend before last also marked the lavender festival, with a market in an area park, & various farms opening their doors to the public! Treats like lavender lemonaide & lovely vistas awaited those venturing out seeking lavender, lavender goodies, photographing & painting the fields.

I took a friend, tho I passed on clipping lavender to take home - I have half a dozen bushes myself, one particularly full. I did buy a dark purple variety from Van Hevlingen Nursery - friends whose herbal knowledge & variety of plants I've enjoyed for about 20 years!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July

Happy Independence Day! Rather overcast here awhile - after 'morning sun!' . . .

We are (square) dancing on the float in another parade this evening, so I'm hoping it clears off & warms up! This will be the 3rd parade of the summer, in a small local town (Willamina) followed by their fireworks. Since our local firework display moved from a school ~ 15 blocks from my house, & easy walking distance to a site closer to the airport, with lots of congestion, I haven't been 'out' to watch them. My daughter is also happy to celebrate rather 'quietly' at home with her hubby, their girls & a few sparklers!

My dad disliked driving on holidays, even 'back in the 50s & 60s' when traffic was much lighter! I know he'd drag his heels at going to this parade, travelingon one of the busiest highways in the state! So with others, I raise prayers for travel safety, & clear skies!

July brings several musical events - I'll be playing harp next Friday from 11-1 at Turkey Rama, & for several weddings at pretty vineyards the next few weekends.

It's almost a year now that we've been gluten free, & a weekend at the coast with my galfriends highlighted just how much I want to avoid the stuff. On the ride home midday Saturday, I wrestled with a a migraine (which I RARELY experience). I combated it with homeopathic gelsemium & arnica - by the time I got home & took a nap, was feeling almost normal. Was it triggered by histamines from the wine the night before? But I didn't awaken with it . . . or . . . .

I didn't intentionally ingest gluten, but picture the breakfast 'bar' Sat AM: a lovely fritata Martha made with fresh duck eggs, aspargus, local garlic & onion, topped with avocado - next, loaves of bread from the night before peeking out of their warpper; then the pan with sauted bacon, nice & crisp, followed by a plate of G containing muffins!
This was laid out before I noticed - I did go through the line 2nd - but who laid it out? Did they wash their hands between placing items?

Did anyone even HESITATE to place the bread between the main dishes? & did the person in front of me take bread? Does a bear poop in the woods? Well, of course they took bread! I got bacon with my own fork, & went outside to the deck overlooking the ocean, to dine with my friends. & within an hour or two, had stiff shoulders & a headache.

Ironically, a few weeks before one of my friends asked if I were coming on the beach retreat, & when I expressed concern about gluten contamination, she said - yes, we talked about that, & that it wouldn't hurt ANY OF US to go gluten free for the weekend!

Well . . .

Some of us headed over Thur, & ate out that first night. One of the bread baskets was in front of my plate between two of us, the other shared between the other four. When that basket ran dry, 'ours' was passed down (whew!) but more bread was requested. (& later someone asked me if the basket in front of us - which they'd emptied - had any more, & I quipped that I didn't intend to be their 'pusher')
I had a salad, stuffed chicken breast & aspargus. The chef recommended against the rice pilaf, ('can't guarantee that it's G F') so I had a baked potato. We had desert at home, inc yummy GF brownies Martha brought, in their own box & well labeled. (the rest had 'regular' brownies, from a seperate box)

Dinner Sat was lasagna - I brought my grain mix, & asked Donna to reserve some sauce & cheese, rather than bringing her GF noodles (knowing she was likely to bake it at the same time as the 'regular' lasagna) & cooked my seed/grain mix while I made the salad.
The seed & grain mix: quinoa & millet in equal parts (1/2 C each) & a Tbsp each of teff (African millet), amaranth, & chia seeds - bring ~ 2 C of water to a boil, pour in grains, stir, reduce heat & cook ~ 20 min. This is great for breakfast or dinner, & you can season as you wish.
Local strawberries over ice cream & a GF brownie for me (angel food cake for the others)

Snacks included the brownies & bags of chex mix, pretzles, M & Ms . . . . I brought dehydrated veggies, & found a pretzel in the bag, when I got home - I'd put it out on the snack table - should have put some out in a dish with a spoon, & kept the bag in my basket, where I had rice cakes, rice crackers, & a coconut mango bar. If I go next year, I'll ask that all the gluten items be placed on the snack table, & that any GF snacks be in a different area.

Do my friends have chronic health problems that are associated with gluten sensitivity? Yes, inc Asthma, Diabetes, Chronic pain, weight issues, one sleeps with a c-pap machine, . . . . & only one has expressed 'considering' going GF for a week & "seeing if it helps" . . . (another wanted to share the grain mix, as she's 'doing' weight watchers, but didn't avoid other gluten)

Yesterday, I visited with my daughter's friend Karen, who started us down the GF path, after hitting 'early menopause' in her mid thirties (yes, ANY fertility/ miscarriage/ premature birth issues can be linked to gluten sensitivity), & commiserated about people just 'not getting it' - she'd spent a 'mixed' Thanksgiving with 'well meaning' family members, & even after explaining how GF folks should serve themselves first, & others should only DIP food with the utensils, & not spread anything on bread . . . others jumped ahead of them in line, & immediately someone dipped & spread cranberry sauce on their bread . . .

Like others on this strange journey of being GF in the land of wheat, wheat, rye & barley, find it frustrating at times, but joyfully health giving!

Watched Julie & Julia Friday night at my daughter's, & think of Julie as I blog - fun to see her cooking her way through Julia's book, & thinking of Shauna's GF tome, due at the end of the summer! Now that would be fun to cook through . . . .