Monday, May 21, 2012

May Check-In

The irises have begun to bloom.
Remember how my goal this month was to remember to breathe? Well the kid-stressy thing that was originally scheduled to be over and done with by Mother's Day was rescheduled and then rescheduled again, and is now at the very end of the month. So my original plan of thinking about the rest of May once that was over and done with obviously had to be abandoned. I realized this at about 11:30 last Thursday night, like this: Oh, we can't wait to plan details of X's birthday party until after Y, because now it's two days BEFORE Y. Oh no. We have to plan it RIGHT NOW RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Do you realize Memorial Day weekend is NEXT WEEKEND??

Deep breath...these smell like grape.
So maybe right then I wasn't breathing too well... in general though, I've been making sure to spend time outside, listening to the birds. We have a stream, too, that you can't see through the scrubby but you can hear, especially in the evening. The kids and I have been checking on the phoebe nest. No change in the number of eggs, but she rearranges them a lot. We don't often see her on the nest, though. I think maybe she's incubating them? And she's just very skittish? But we're not sure.

We try to respect her privacy but she did build the nest right under the deck, which we, you know, use. For playing and grilling and sitting in the sun reading a book. She also flies away as soon as I round the corner of the house on my way to fill the bird feeder, which I do every morning around 7 am. It's nice to walk through the wet grass in the quiet morning hush, listening to the birds. I photographed these irises, the first blooms this year, on Sunday morning after filling the feeder.

My favorite of these photos: a top-down view
So I obviously can't wait until the end of the month to start getting ready for Squam, either. My to-do list is random and all in my head (always a dangerous thing). Everybody's bathing suits are sorted out. And I ordered Mini-Moo cards.

I've wanted some since I first heard of them, but couldn't justify them. I don't have an Etsy shop or anything I'd need a business card for. But did you see how inexpensive these are? I decided I wanted something to tuck into packages that I send to Internet friends, and something I could hand out if anyone asks for my contact info. These are so cute, and they have cropped bits of my own work on them. The cuteness and prettiness of these cards is much more satisfying than just writing my email address on a scrap of paper and handing it to someone.

I also decided I needed a backpack. I have a backpack, of course, pre-packed with mostly kid stuff, and it'll be staying home so my husband can just refill as necessary and take it with him. After looking 'round lots of sites, I decided on this Timberland backpack in stone, which was on sale when I ordered it. And then I threw in this slingable tote bag in blue, also on sale, because it also looks supremely useful.

And I finally called the folks at the camp where Squam is held, to talk about my gluten cross-contamination concerns. (That had been on my mental list for...oh, a while.) The food services manager called me back, and the good news is that she seems well-informed on how to avoid cross-contamination on buffet lines and as far as such matters as preparing the gluten-free food before the gluten-containing food. Also good news, she seems willing to work with me in whatever way she can. The not-so-good news is that while breakfast and, often, lunch are being prepared, the baker is in the same small shared kitchen, baking. She told me that the areas only have one exhaust fan and flour is definitely in the air. I really can't safely eat anything prepared where there's flour floating around.

It seems I'm extremely sensitive to cross-contamination. My thought on this is that it forces me to be vigilant. Did you know someone can have celiac and experience no symptoms at all, while all the while their body is attacking itself quietly? My opinion is that it's not safe for anyone with celiac to eat food prepared in a floury kitchen, whether they feel a reaction or not. So I can look on the bright side and say my sensitivity is like the canary in the coal mine, letting me know there's something dangerous going on at a very low threshold. While having this conversation I definitely had to remind myself to breathe. I quietly said, Oh no, I'm not going to eat for five days, am I? But there's a cold kitchen separate from the other kitchen, so as long as I don't mind cold salads and such, which I don't, I should be okay. And I'll be bringing lots of food with me, too. Like I said, they're willing to work with me, and I feel better for having called ahead and not being surprised when I arrive to learn about the simultaneous baking. This way I can come prepared.

And look how far I've finally gotten on Azami, after eleventy-fifteen false starts:

I'm done with the side lace panels and now it's just stockinette for a while, which, one hopes, I won't mess up. After pulling it out the last time--I'd gotten as far as the top tier of the lace panel but I'd forgotten to switch from garter to stockinette--I decided the size I was making, 35.5", looked very big around, so I went down a size but decided to eliminate the waist shaping. My entire shape has changed since I stopped eating gluten and started gaining weight. It's good I'm not underweight anymore, I just have to think a little bit more about what flatters me, since my body is different now. I'm still learning how to outfit this new shape.

So that's a skimming recap of May thus far, because, of course, not all of life is bloggable. How's your month going?


Donna Lee said...

The smell of irises makes me sick. Almost literally. Those and lillies. I had some irises from my grandfather's garden and had to plant them as far away from the house as I could, and I could still smell them. One of my neighbors has a whole bed of them and while they are gorgeous, I dread the days when they bloom.

I hadn't thought about the flour in the air and cross contamination. That would make things a bit difficult. Being flexible seems to be the only way to handle it (or you could have a screaming tantrum but I'm not sure that would be successful).

amy said...

Oh my, no, a tantrum didn't even occur to me. It is what it is--but doesn't it make you wonder how many places offer "gluten-free" food that was prepared under questionable conditions?

Funny how we all react differently to different scents. I love the irises, but I'm sure there are flowers that make me cough, I just can't think of any examples right now! Cologne and perfume and anything artificial, though...I start to gag.

Bells said...

Irises are among the most beautiful things in the world. They are stunning. Looking into one of those has gotta calm anyone down.

I've wanted moo cards too but couldn't see the point without a store or anything but you're right - as a little card for packages they're a lovely idea. Thanks for that!

Michelle said...

The catds are So cute!!
And i appreciate the thoughts on how some people are asymptomatic. I'm grateful you have a canary. :)

iamrushmore said...

sweet moo cards! I bet you'll have lots of good reasons to share them with others at squam. the dwarf irises I bought at the garden club sale last year bloomed beautifully this year. so I bought some siberian irises at this year's sale and hope they will bloom for me next year. (and I finally got my risd confirmation/supply list email)

lamina@do a bit said...

Phew... what a month! Love those moo cards... I'm going to get some too! What a nightmare about your gluten allergy.. sounds like you are super sensitive too! Wow. it must mean you can't eat out at all really! I have a terrible allergy to cows milk which drives me a bit nutty... I don't have to worry about cross contamination but I do have to check the ingredients in EVERYTHING! I hope it all will be ok at squam! :)
Your knitting is looking great... love that colour :)