This lake is on the road to Cape Royal, at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I always amazes me that people who are otherwise intelligent, think that Arizona is all desert and dry, barren land. So, this post is for them. This place is less than 2o miles from my trailer. Isn’t it beautiful?
A post on the “I Can’t Eat That” Group on Ravelry asked what you miss the most since you found out you can’t eat whatever it is that you can’t eat. Well, for me, one thing I really miss is Rice Crispy Treats. I can’t eat Rice Crispies because that have that pesky barley malt in it, and as we all know, barley malt contains GLUTEN. Rice anything should not have that additive in it, so we who are gluten intolerant can eat it without fear.
Anyway, after I read that post, I got to thinking, “Hey! I have a box of the newly gluten free Rice Chex, AND I have a bag of marshmallows!” I can make Rice Chex Treats. And you know what? They taste pretty dang good.
Rice Chex Treats
8 cups Rice Chex
1 bag marshmallows
1/3 cup butter or margarine
Butter or spray with olive oil a 13″ X 9″ casserole dish. Crush up the Rice Chex a little bit so that you have 6 cups of crushed cereal from the 8 cups you started with. Melt the butter or margarine on low heat in a large non-stick pot. Add the marshmallows and stir constantly until they are completely melted. Add the cereal to the melted marshmallows and stir until all the cereal is coated. Using a buttered or oiled spatula or waxed paper, spread the mix into the casserole dish. Eat and enjoy! mmmmmmm
Ok, I promise, this is the last time I will bore you all to tears with my telephone company nightmare. But, I had to let you know that I received a reply to my email to the Arizona State President of Qwest:
“… I apologize for the issues you have encountered with your phone
services. One of my peers from the Denver Office has been working your
initial complaint and issued a credit today of $320.18. Please be
assured an investigation will be done on your account to locate Aaron,
as this is unacceptable behaviour from our employees. If you have any
additional information pertaining to him it would be greatly
Once again, I apologize for the unpleasantness you experienced with
QWEST. Please feel free to contact me…”
IF they can find Aaron, they will probably smack his hand and say, “Oh, Aaron, we know you were having a bad day, and it WAS after all late on a Friday afternoon, and we know that you wanted to get out of here on time so you wouldn’t miss the first Jager-bomb with your buds, so we just wanted you to know you shouldn’t talk to the customers like that next time, Ok?”
Well, they turned my telephone back on today, but not before they really pissed me off and made my blood pressure skyrocket. I could feel my blood boiling while I was on the phone with them today. Now, I could understand the reaction if I was on the line screaming and cussing at them, but I was nice, at least to start off with. I really don’t know how these so called customer service people can keep their jobs.
Here is what I wrote to the Arizona President of Qwest today. If my letter gets to him at all, he probably won’t care or do anything at all. But you know I had to write it.
“I am currently working at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon with the National Park Service. I arrived here in April and ordered basic telephone service and DSL from Qwest. My service was installed when I was told it would be.
However, when I received my first bill, there was a charge of $300 for “materials”. I was not told when I ordered the service that there would be a charge like that, so I called customer service to find out what it was for. On June 9, 2008, I talked to Austin in billing. I was on hold for almost two hours while he checked with every department he could think of to find out why there was such a charge on my bill. Austin finally told me that since no one could verify the charge, he would credit my account for the $300 plus taxes, and that I should pay the balance of my bill, which I did.
Yesterday, July 10, 2008, when I came home from work my telephone service was disconnected. I went to a neighbor’s house, and called the billing department again. This time I spoke to Anita. Anita told me there was no notation of a credit to my account from June. She kept me on hold for well over an hour, making the same calls to all the different departments that Austin made back in June. She finally told me that she was not able to verify that there should be a charge of $300 on my bill, but she could not reconnect my service. She said she would refer my account to a “complex billing department” for them to investigate further. I gave her my boss’s office telephone number and asked her to have someone call me after 3:00 p.m. the next day.
No one called me from Qwest, so I called the billing number again on July 11, 2008 around 3:35 p.m. I reached a young man who gave his name as Aaron. Aaron asked me what I was calling about, and when I started to explain what had happened, he said “I don’t have time to listen to your long story, lady. Are you calling to take care of your bill so we can restore your service or what?” I then asked to speak to his supervisor, he said “I’ll be glad to connect you to the someone else who can listen to your story”. Then I was put back into the loop and after holding for ten minutes, I was connected to another service representative named Maria. I asked Maria if she was a supervisor and she said she was not. She told me that she did not see what the problem was because there was already an order to restore my service and she could see a credit on my account.
I am writing to you to today to let you know that Qwest was given many opportunities to provide good customer service to me and failed on each one. I do think this is the worst customer service I have ever received from any company, especially from Aaron. I have spent more than four hours of my time trying to get this situation straightened out, and as of 4:36 p.m on July 11, 2008, I still do not have telephone service.
I worked for BellSouth in Atlanta for 20 years, most of that time as a service representative, so I know a little bit about what good customer service should sound like. I know for certain that if there was an alternative to using Qwest, I would be the first in line to switch my service.”
Thank you all for letting me vent. I really do feel better now.
Before we came up to the North Rim, I had a cellphone with service through AT&T and an AT&T wireless aircard for my wi-fi internet. When we got here, I had zero bars on my phone and no service on my aircard. So, I called AT&T and asked them to cancel the contract on my aircard. They did and actually waived the cancellation fee because they know they do not have service up here.
So, for us to have a phone and internet, I ordered basic phone service and DSL from Qwest. They installed the service promptly. I bought a calling card to use for long distance service so I wouldn’t have to wait for our every other week trip to St. George to call the folks back home. I thought I had things worked out.
When I got my first bill from Qwest, there was an outrageous charge of $300 plus taxes for something called “materials”. I called their customer no service line and spent almost two hours on the phone with them back on June 9. The rep I spoke with finally told me that he had called every department he could think of and no one could identify exactly what the charge was for or if it was even a valid charge, so he was going to credit my account. During that phone call, I didn’t lose my temper at all, I was very nice and thanked the guy at the end of our conversation.
Everything was going fine until today. When I got home from work, my phone had no dialtone. I went across the road to my neighbors house and called my phone number, and got a recording saying “I’m sorry but the number you have dialed is out of service.”
When I called Qwest, I was on the phone with them for another hour. At the end of the conversation, I was ready to explode, I was so mad I was spittting fire. The girl I talked to told me there was no record of me calling on June 9th. She had called all the departments she could think of and no one could verify that the $300 charge was supposed to be on my bill. She was referring my account to a “Complex Billing Supervisor” and that person would call me tomorrow.”
On what phone number?” I asked, because, you see, MY phone is DISCONNECTED!!!. She asked if I had another phone number she could use. Well, I DO have a cellphone but I don’t have a signal up here. I told her that if AT&T had a signal up here I wouldn’t be talking to her because I would not have had to order service from Qwest. And I think I said it very loudly and in not so nice of a voice. I finally gave her my boss’s phone number at the office and told her I wouldn’t be there until 3:00 p.m. And, they are not going to turn my phone back on until this is resolved.
Oh, how I hate customer service!
Today I wanted to try again to make a pie. It’s not hard to make a pie when you can eat wheat—all you have to do is go to the store, buy a frozen pie crust, put in the filling, and bake. Viola! It’s a pie. Yum.
Not so when you can’t eat gluten. You have to try recipe after recipe, have them turn out crappy, and eat them anyway because the ingredients are so expensive you can’t afford to waste them.
So, after many pieless months, I tried again today. This pie turned out pretty good. The crust was flaky and brown, but it was a little too flaky. It fell apart. It tasted good, though. Next time I will use less Crisco, maybe ¼ cup, and roll it out thicker. Also, even though the filling was very tasty, I think it needed more tapioca starch, maybe another tablespoon or so.
Here is the recipe, feel free to tweak it, maybe it will work better for you if you do:
½ cup buckwheat flour
½ cup white rice flour
½ cup corn starch
½ cup tapioca starch
3 Tbls potato flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp xanthan gum
½ cup Crisco
¼ cup butter
Mix all the dry ingredients well in a bowl. Cut the Crisco and butter into little diced pieces. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, mix in the Crisco and butter until it resembles small peas. Add cold water, a little at a time, until the dough sticks together to form a ball. Divided the dough into tow pieces, one of them abut two thirds of the dough and the other one third of the dough. Shape into balls, and put in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Take the dough out of the freezer. Work the large ball into a flattened circle. Place the circle of dough onto some plastic wrap. Roll out to about ¼ inch thick, enough to fit into an 8 inch pie pan and overlap the sides. Carefully place the pie crust into the pie pan, and remove the plastic wrap. Push the dough to fit the pan, then trim off the excess from the sides. Pour in the filling.
Prepare the top crust the same way as the bottom. Place on top of the pie, trim off the excess. Use your fingers or a fork to press the two crusts edges together. Cut two or three slits in the top crust. Place on a cookie sheet. Bake in a 400 degree oven for one hour.
And, here is the filling recipe I used:
Apple Berry Pie:
5 apples, peeled and sliced
1 pear, peeled and sliced
½ cup fresh raspberries, washed
1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled, washed and cut in half
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
juice of ½ lime
¼ cup butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 Tbls tapioca starch
Place all ingredients in a large saucepan with a lid. Cook on medium heat for 25 minutes. Stir often to keep from burning or sticking to the pan.
The verdict: This is the best tasting pie I have made since I started eating gluten free. I happened to have some whipped cream in a can, so we had some of that on top. MMMMMMM, MMMMMM.
Today is my father-in-love’s birthday. I’m not telling how old he is, let’s just say old enough… Poppa had emailed me last week asking when I would have a picture of FabGrandpa in his uniform. Thing is, we ordered them the first week of May. When they arrived the first time, they didn’t fit, so we had to send them all back. The second order arrived on Tuesday. So, here he is, FabGrandpa in his park service uniform:
Happy Birthday, Pop! We love you. (click on the picture to make it bigger)
We decided to go to Kanab, Utah on Monday to buy new batteries for our truck. FabGrandpa wanted to have someone check the batteries and the altenator first before w spent the money. When we got to Little’s Diesel and Livestock, we found out we didn’t need a battery at all. The problem we had been having with cranking our truck turned out to be that the glow plugs and the glow plug controller were burnt out.
Since the mechanic couldn’t get to our truck until Tuesday morning, they arranged for us to spend the night in Kanab, rather than have to drive all the way back up to the North Rim and come back in the morning.
We stayed at Aiken’s Lodge, a little motel on the north side of town. The room was small but very clean, and the bed was sooooo comfortable. We checked in before going to Honey’s Jubilee Grocery store, because I wanted to see if they had a bathtub, which they did. I got some Calgon and had a nice soaking bubble bath. Ahhhhhh!
For dinner, we walked over to Houston’s Trails End Restaurant. The ad in the motel information book for Trail’s End said “Where our girls have a gun on their hips and a smile on their lips”. Sure enough, all the waitresses had a holster with a pistol hanging off their belt.
Houston’s is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For dinner on Monday night, FabGrandpa had a country fried streak, mashed potatoes and gravy. I had stir-fried garlic shrimp with vegetables over rice. The stir-fry had broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, snow peas, and zucchini. All very good and so much I couldn’t eat it all. We went back there for breakfast on Tuesday. The biscuits Jim had looked so good, but I didn’t even ask to smell them (ok, I sniff wheat bread. At least I don’t eat it.)
After breakfast, we took the truck over to Little’s. We expected to sit there while they worked on our truck, but they gave us a little Chevy truck to drive and told us to come back around lunch time, so we decided to ‘do Kanab” like tourists.
What, you ask, is there to do in Kanab, Utah? A lot. We went to Denny’s Wigwam, and bought some souvineers. We stopped in at Linda Lea’s Coffee Shop for an expresso and a cappacino. I went into a hair salon and got a hair cut. We went into another store where I bought a new backpack and FabGrandpa got some new boots.
There is a museum here where they have buildings from movie sets of movies that have been filmed here. There was one from “The Outlaw Josey Wales” . One from “Sergeants 3” which starred Frank Sinatra. One from a Kenny Loggins music video that was actually filmed at Lee’s Ferry. It was interesting to look at all the stuff they had there.
Moqui Cave is a natural cave in the side of a mountain north of Kanab. The tour guide there told us that his father bought the property in 1950 and in 1951 he opened a bar and a dance hall in the cave. The temperature inside the cave stays cool, so he had a cool place for a cold drink and socializing, and did a brisk business for such a sparsely populated area. There were exhibits of dinosaur tracks that were found in other places in Utah. And some really neat fluorescent minerals that glowed colorfully in black lights in the display cases.
Another interesting thing we learned is that the T-Shirt shop in Kanab printed the “Kanab Cowboys” T-shirt that was worn in the movie “Napolean Dynamite.” Sweet. They had some in the shop and also had some that said “Vote For Pedro”.
The folks at Little’s had our truck ready when we got back over there. The bill for the repair was $583.93, which was not too bad. All the people who work there are so nice, too. The customer service they provided was just as valuable as their repair work. They made us feel like we were at least one of their best friends, if not a part of their family. If you are ever in this area and need work on your diesel truck, this is the place to go. Before we left, they had given us each a T-shirt, a pen and a coupon good for 10 cents per gallon off diesel fuel at their gas station in town.
Before we went home, we stopped at the Food Town to get a few groceries. This was the first time I had shopped in that store. I was glad I went in there, because even though it is a tiny grocery store in a town with a population of under 5,000 people, they had a very good gluten free section. I got some Glutino bread stick, some Mrs. Leepers hamburger helper, and a gluten free pizza crust mix.
I told FabGrandpa that I could live in that town for sure.