Sunday, June 13, 2010

Post #23

Dave Barry took a break from writing for several years.  Now he’s back to writing articles for a syndication company.  Robert Fulghum writes on his website.  After receiving many negative reactions about his new prospective book, he decided to take a break.  He stopped writing for three months.  At least that was the plan anyway.  He still wrote in notebooks the same way he always had.  Orson Scott Card took 20 years to complete his book Lost Boys.  Some people liked the original short story better and some really embraced the full novel. 

Sometimes writers get writer’s block and take a break.  Maybe that’s all I’m doing.  But maybe dissolving The Piquant Storyteller blog is for the better.  After all, not every spin off is successful.  Frasier, the spin off of Cheers, is the only sitcom I can think of that successfully took an existing character and moved on to another equally dynamic show.  The Piquant Storyteller is a spin off of my original blog. 

It started out as a passion for writing.  Then it turned into a desire to find a different audience for one small sliver of posts I would write on my personal blog.  I did.  I found everything I was looking for before I started this project.  Writers, interesting bloggers, adult Type 1 diabetics. 

What I learned from having two blogs is that I enjoy being a personal blogger.  My niche on this blog was too broad, if you could call it a niche at all.  I love being a wife and mother.  I love writing about my life.  So I essentially ended up with two personal blogs.  One I was myself as I have always been for three years and the other I stifled myself trying to be the model blogger following all the blogging rules. 

I advertised myself as The Piquant Storyteller.  After all was said and done I was more of a Timid Storyteller, not posting things for fear of offending someone!  Which is about as piquant as stale bread. 

It’s summer and I want to spend time with my kids.  We have big plans to just have fun this summer.  Babysitting a Twitter account and a spin off blog has become more time consuming and  more work than it needs to be.  So I am retiring The Piquant Storyteller blog.  For now anyway.  Never say never.  I may pull a Michael Jordan (#23) and come out of retirement. 

For now I will be doing all my writing, creative, ranting, or otherwise, on my original personal blog.  I appreciate all the support I have had from the readers I have found through this blog and Twitter.  Thank you.  You are welcome to follow the real me on my blog Based on a True Story.  The Piquant Storyteller is now retired. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What Was That?

Her heart was starting to beat faster as the anxiety set in.  She snuggled deeper into her husband’s chest, comforted by the warmth of his body.  She sighed deeply telling herself she would be fine as soon as she got there.  Agoraphobia would not get the best of her tonight. 

It was midnight and worrying about going someplace she had never been before was not going to help.  She had committed so she was going.  End of story.  Time for sleep.

Thud.  Bumpbumpbump.

All sense of serenity vanished.  Eyes widened that were almost asleep.


“I don’t know what that was.”

They settled back into the pillows hoping it was just a child kicking the wall in their sleep.  But it didn’t seem like that’s all it was.  They both played the sound over again in their minds and cautiously got out of bed at the same time. 

Pete stood in the hallway listening at the door of the boys’ bedroom.  Kristi stared intently at him.  He slowly opened the door and she heard the floor boards creak as he checked on the snoozing kids.  Moments later he was back out.

“Neither one of them were even close to the wall.  They’re both asleep though.”  He turned as if ready to head back to bed.  The panic started to rise in Kristi’s chest as she stared at their daughter’s door.  The feeling to check on the little girl was intense.

Pete and Kristi only had to look at each other to know what the other was thinking.  He started to say he was afraid to open the door because it stuck and made a loud scraping sound that may wake the little girl.

Kristi was already at the door whispering that she knew a trick to open it quietly.  She lifted up as she turned the handle and the door opened almost silently.  She stealthily crossed the room to see their daughter lying flat on her back, legs stretched out over toys and blankets, near the wall. 

Maybe it was the little girl kicking the wall after all.  But the sounds didn’t seem right.  Pete and Kristi went back to bed, this time leaving the door open.  Pete suggested maybe it was a small earthquake.  He checked his Blackberry for info with no luck. 

Kristi’s mind wandered back in time to high school when she lived with her grandparents.  A strange earthquake happened in the early morning.  At the time Kristi was sure it was her grandma stomping through the house slamming cupboard doors in the kitchen.  Grandma was always so tiny but noisier than a bumbling elephant when she walked. 

The next morning Grandma and Grandpa both swore they weren’t up in the night.  The newscasters reported an earthquake where those who felt it described it as a feeling of someone in the house. 

The strange thudding and bumping seemed so eerily similar to that high school earthquake.  It had to have been an earthquake.  The kids were all safe.  Pete and Kristi attempted sleep again. 

THUD.  Pad pad pad. 

Kristi’s heart ached it was beating so hard.  She could barely breathe. 

Without moving Pete hissed, “Now you’re turning me into an anxious mess!”

“I’m sorry!”  Kristi breathed back.


“Who’s there!”  Pete’s voice came out deeper than usual.

“Connor.  I need to go potty.”

“Go potty then!”  Kristi managed to keep the waver out of her voice. 

The toilet immediately flushed, small footsteps quickly padded off, the door creaked again and shut hard. 

Was that all that was going on all along?  Kristi could not suppress the panic.  Everything goes to bed at midnight, including rational thoughts.  Kristi knew nobody was in the house but she couldn’t shake the thought. 

Her mind wandered to a scene about a year ago.  She was bringing the kids home from the playground.  One was being obstinate and arguing with her.  She couldn’t remember why.  She just knew it was a chaotic moment with three young kids.  She pushed the button on the garage door opener and noticed the strange man for the first time.  He had been looking over the fence into the next door neighbor’s yard.  When the garage opened he was surprised and quickly walked across the street to speed walk past Kristi and her kids and around the corner. 

She never thought it was strange until she got all her kids back inside.  Then  it hit her.  What was he doing?  Why was he wearing khaki pants and a white golf shirt like some salesman but get so skittish over an opening garage?  What was he doing looking over the fence where there was no gate?  The pit in her stomach was heavy.

She got the kids eating lunch and walked to the former highway patrolman’s house to ask for advice.  He wasn’t home.  Pete had told Bill about the incident the next time he saw him.  Bill shared a story of a home invasion where a woman called him while she was hiding in her bedroom.  Bill, the cop, flushed the guy out of the house.  The robber jumped over the wall by the canal to meet up with Bill’s shotgun aimed at the robber’s face. 

Kristi could not stop thinking about these stories.  It was unlikely someone would break in.  Unfortunately, if anyone did they would be disappointed there was nothing worth stealing! 

Pete’s sense of ESP kicked in again and he asked if Kristi wanted to check the house.  Yes please!  They went together and checked that every door was locked.  Pete even locked the deadbolt on the door that leads to the garage, for good measure. 

Eventually sleep overcame the family.  The next morning it was a dim memory that felt more like a bad dream than reality. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

It’s a crazy idea that just might work

Let go.  Easier said than done but today I realized that’s what I have to do. 

Today I visited my endocrinologist.  My A1c is 7.1, which is down one whole point from the last time I had the test done.  It’s supposed to be below 7.  My endo told me the result and said that he was happy with it because it’s moving in the right direction.  The rest of the test results from my blood work were fine.  My kidneys are fine, my liver is fine, my cholesterol is fine.  The A1c is not great but it’s coming down. 

He told me I looked good on paper.  So I asked why I don’t feel as good as I look on paper.  I told him I feel like I keep fighting with my blood sugars every day. 

“Why are you fighting?”

When he asked that question it was like all the noise suddenly stopped.  The sail was effectively taken out of my wind and I just sat there wondering why I fight everything so hard. 

I told him about last week.  How I had never bolused early for a meal but because I was so frustrated by my numbers I tried it.  It was magic.  For three or four days in a row my blood sugars were perfect.  I was on Cloud 9.  What a simple change that seemed to make all the difference. 

But then the magic stopped.  One day was perfect and the next day I did everything the same.  Except my blood sugars were all over the place but mostly high.  What happened?

He didn’t have an answer.  There is no answer.  It’s diabetes.  If it made sense like math, with only one right answer, diabetics would be fine. 

He said that everyone is different.  Some people are really sensitive to stress or things like that.  Maybe that’s what was causing the fluctuations in my blood sugar readings.  I admitted that I am an anxious person.  It’s who I am.  He basically responded that I need to stop worrying so much about my blood sugars. 

He told me that if I let it all get to me and start making changes every time I see something I don’t like I will be changing settings constantly.  I’ve done that!  He told me to just go with the flow and ride it out before I get so upset over things. 

“You’re getting better.  You should be proud of yourself.” 

The drive home was self reflective.  It usually is in one way or another.  Somehow his words made so much sense.  I have tried everything I can think of to isolate variables and figure out what is going on.  He’s right.  Why am I fighting?  I should be proud of what I have done.  I have worked hard and I deserve to congratulate myself on my accomplishments and forget about the rest of it.  He also said that nobody is perfect and to think that I am perfect means I’m nobody because nobody is perfect.  

I am giving myself permission to stop thinking.  The more I think about diabetes the more I get depressed and cry about it. 

This song says it all.  I chose this version because the lyrics are on screen.



I can do this.  I’ve done so many other things.  All I have to do is let go of the power struggle with myself. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Pitfalls of Cell Phone Technology

Technology.  It’s wonderful and it’s a pain in the butt all at the same time. 

Take phones for example.  The telephone has made some dramatic changes in a relatively short amount of time.  Everyone has their own phone number now.  No more sharing phone lines and listening for the right ring combination.  Can you imagine sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring only to have the ring combination be for your neighbor?

Not that long ago talking on the phone meant being chained to a small area with a cord.  Now we have cordless phones that don’t work when the power goes out. 

Cell phones were invented after the idea was conceived on Star Trek.  That alone is amazing.  A popular science fiction television show was the inspiration for cellular technology. 

I am grateful for cell phones.  Houston Cellular helped me pay my bills my sophomore year of college.  I was a telemarketer trying to get people to buy cell phones over the phone.  After a long day of classes I called mostly older people trying to convince them that a cell phone was a good idea.  Emergency use and only paying for minutes used were my best rebuttals.  By the middle of the six hour shift I could barely say the word cellular correctly.  All that aside, I hit goal more often than I missed it.  Then I was moved onto other projects and Bell South’s Houston Cellular faded away. 

Cell phones are interesting.  Some people only have cell phones.  Some people refuse to use one because that’s just another way for them to be reached. 

My pet peeve with cell phones is the voice mail.  This is what usually happens to me.  I call someone and they, of course, are unavailable.  First of all, isn’t that the point of a cell phone?  That it’s permanently attached to your hip?  Isn’t that why you gave me your cell number saying it’s the best way to reach you?  What are the chances I manage to call you every time you’re in the bathroom?

While their message plays I’m frantically trying to think of what to say.  I always get voice mail when I was really hoping to just talk to the person.  Sometimes I pray for voice mail and that’s when I get the live person.  Murphy’s Law.  I come up with something to say and then I have to wait another 10 minutes. 

What is up with voice mail instructions?  “The person you are trying to reach is not available.”  I know.  The person just said that and now I need a computer voice to tell me again!  “Please record your message after the tone.”  Again, I was just told that by the person I was trying to reach!  Then the arbitrary stuff.  The stuff that makes me completely lose my train of thought because it takes so long for the computer voice to get through it all. 

“To leave a call back number press 5.  To send a numeric page press the letter B.  Press the pound key if you feel heavy after you eat a large meal.  Press the star key if you would like to speak to a Hollywood star.  Press 2 if your eyes are green.  After your message you can press 1 to listen to your message and if you like it you can press Y to send it.  Or you can simply hang up.  Press zero if you can’t remember what to do.  Or stay on the line for more options.  (Pause pause pause) Press the umlaut key if you want to hear these options again.  Oh you don’t have an umlaut key?  Please wait for the tone.”

Good heavens!  By the time all that is finished my message sounds like this:

“Uh . . . um . . . I can’t remember who I’m calling or why . . . wait!  I got it!  This is Tristan and I’m calling you because”


Cut off again!  Then the computer voice comes back on and gives me another 10 minutes of instructions on keeping or re-recording the message and how to book a flight to the Bermuda Triangle in case I didn’t get how to delete the message. 

The message is sent.  Then I sink into a heap on the floor. 

This is why I never give out my cell number.  I certainly wouldn’t want to inflict the computer voice on a dog I didn’t like.  Besides, I never answer my phone and rarely have it charged.  Technology really is wonderful and a pain in the butt all at the same time. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ignorance is Bliss

What you don’t know won’t hurt you.  I promise. 

Remember when you were a kid and you hadn’t a care in the world?  You would eat the dirt out of your mother’s potted plants.  What happened?  Nothing.  Your mom told you to stop eating the dirt because it was gross, and while you were at it stop eating the dog’s food too because it’s for the dog! 

So you went outside to play with your friends.  You all sat around the sandbox oblivious to whether or not cats used it as a litter box.  Your friends would eat the sand and told you to try.  So you did but it was crunchier than the rich plant soil you just enjoyed.  “No thank you,” you said, “I like dirt better.”

Remember how you would drink water from the creek?  What happened?  Not a thing. 

You used to eat paste.  You thought it was delicious.  What happened there?  Nothing.  Well, there was that one time you smeared it on the faucet of the drinking fountain and nobody wanted to get a drink anymore.  But nobody knew who did it.  And nobody got hurt. 

Remember when you would play cops and robbers?  Your brother would tie you to the basketball standard with a jump rope and rub your arms until they were red and burned.  That was as violent as any kid got because nobody spent hours in front of the TV playing video games and watching shows that glorify violence, murder, and sex, only to watch the news and see how their peers were shooting each other. 

The news today is filled with random deplorable violence.  Murder happens regularly enough they compare homicide numbers over the years or even months. 

The fluffy news stories now include dramatic music and shocking reports that canned food is causing cancer and Type 2 diabetes among other things.  Don’t buy canned food!  Let us reiterate that you should never buy any food produced anywhere outside your neighborhood.  If you live in another country, by all means, eat the food produced there.  But if you live across the street, that’s not local enough. 

Senator Diane Feinstein:  This is a concern of mine.  I don’t eat canned food.  I don’t even buy canned food anymore.   I urge you not to buy canned food.

Reading between the lines – If you are poor you will not survive this new nutrition scare.

Cell phones are dangerous.  They make men impotent and women get breast cancer.  The radiation emitted will slowly kill you.  Don’t use a cell phone. 

A study shows that people are happy at 50.  Before the age of 50 people are stressed out.  You wonder if it’s an instantaneous deal.  At 12:01 am on a person’s 50th birthday are they suddenly overcome with overwhelming happiness and a washing away of all stress?  You start to worry because you won’t be 50 for 20-30 more years! 

A reprieve from the scary news brings a daunting commercial about termites and how easy it is for them to take over your home, your life, and start a relationship with your significant other. 

The news is back and the reporter is in a neighborhood talking to a police officer. 

Reporter:  Can you tell us what’s going on?
Cop:  No, I can’t discuss any details at this time.
Reporter:  It smells like marijuana.  Like a lot. 
Cop:  Yes . . . the smell is hard to miss . . .

“The state received tons of rain but why is the governor saying we are still in a drought?  Is politics behind this?”  You wonder if maybe conserving water may not be a bad idea regardless of political indoctrination. 

“Attention Facebook and/or Twitter users.  Don’t give out personal information!”  You smack your forehead.  Oh no.  What was I thinking?

Another commercial makes you feel guilty for owning any appliance that comes with a remote.  Turn it off!  Turn it all off!  If you see a glowing light even after it’s off then that means your remote will work so you must unplug everything. 

The next commercial shows a girl blow drying her hair with a fan and a boy peering at the ocean in his refrigerator.  A seagull flies at his face and his mom gives him a dirty look for keeping the door open.  Wait.  That last part wasn’t part of the commercial.  But it should have been. 

You don’t know what to think.  You grab your remote to turn off the TV.  Screaming in agony you pull the plug.  Soon you feel that creepy crawly feeling like something is on you. 


You swear you see their brown nasty bodies.  It’s hard to tell in the dark.  You imagine hoards of them coming up the drains like the drains vomited up termites.  The walls are suddenly covered in ants sacrificing a spider to appease the Orkin gods. 

You pull out all the canned food and open each one.  You leave the cans for the pests hoping the BPA will kill bugs faster than it supposedly messes up humans. 

You reach for your cell phone to call for help.  Instead you stare at it like a hot potato and throw it at the wall.  The ants scatter as the radiation singes their bodies.  You run from your house in your underwear waving your arms above your head yelling like a banshee. 

All of this could have been avoided if you would have just stayed ignorant.  What you don’t know won’t hurt.  I promise. 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dream a little dream

Day 7 - Dream a little dream - life after a cure. To wrap up Diabetes Blog Week, let’s pretend a cure has been found. We are all given a tiny little pill to swallow and *poof* our pancreases are back in working order. No side effects. No more insulin resistance. No more diabetes. Tell us what your life is now like. Or take us through your first day celebrating life without the Big D. Blog about how you imagine you would feel if you no longer were a Person With Diabetes.

When I was about 12 years old I was walking up my street.  I saw a bumper sticker on the back of a neighbor’s truck that had a profound impact on me.  I don’t remember exactly what it said but I remember the sentiment was that child abuse was to be abhored.  I hated so much of my life but something changed, like someone flipped a switch.  In that moment my jaw was set.  I made up my mind about the rest of my life.  The cycle would stop with me. 

I had dreams of what I would say to my father the day I turned 18.  Little did I know my life would change sooner than I planned when my mom left, taking her children with her.  I turned 15 a couple weeks later. 

There was a strange absence.  There was no party and true laughter returned much later, and sooner, than I imagined it would.  My new life and the welcome hole in it surprisingly took some getting used to.  People expected us to act a certain way because of the divorce.  Nearly everyone was surprised to hear why since we never talked about it.  The truth changed people’s perspective for better or worse and new expectations were often born. 

The idea of a miraculous cure for diabetes almost feels the same way to me.  Of course I want it but it would be strange.  It would take a lot of getting used to. 

Physical changes would be immediate.  All prescriptions related to diabetes would be unnecessary.  Insulin, test strips, zestril (an ace inhibitor that protects organs), lancets, pump supplies like infusion sets and reservoirs, adhesive tape to hold the infusion set in place as well as the CGM sensor.  Wow, I have prescriptions for a lot of things!  Chances are I forgot something too. 

More physical changes would include freedom from a pump, continuous glucose monitor sensor, testing blood sugar, counting carbs, any math at all with insulin, timing, eating, exercising, etc. 

There would be no more reason to have stashes of glucose tabs or food all over the house.  I may even say goodbye to my purse.  I am not a purse person and only bought one because it was easier to carry my meter and snacks in.  That thing holds my life in it when we go anywhere! 

I’m probably forgetting physical changes.  There would be no more marks on my fingers from testing my blood sugar, no more red splotches all over my abdomen from old infusion set sites.  No more dry skin, no more itching.  No more irritated sites underneath tape.  Is it possible I’m allergic to insulin?  My mom wonders that but I think I just am an extremely sensitive person when it comes to having a plastic cannula stuck in my stomach for a couple days at a time covered by tape.  No more bruises or physical marks of any kind left from diabetes. 

This CGM-003_thumb would never be worn again.  I guess I did have a picture to share yesterday!  I wear my continuous glucose monitor sensor on my arm because it was so uncomfortable on my stomach.  I barely feel it on my arms and it’s out of the way.  I do get really sick of all the gasping “What happened to your arm!!!!!” questions when I wear it though.  So a cure would mean never wearing it again.

Yes, those physical changes would be monumental and very welcome.  It would be so strange though.  It’s my routine to take care of the demands of diabetes.  I don’t see myself changing my eating habits.  I’m pretty sure I would do carb math in my head long after a cure.  I know a cure would not change my feelings about pizza or doughnuts!  Sorry to my husband and kids.  It’s a taste issue over insulin to carb math. 

A machine would no longer dictate hunger.  I was 10 years old when I was diagnosed, old enough to remember what it was like to not have diabetes but I was also young enough that I honestly don’t remember what hunger feels like.  My glucometer tells me whether or not I should have a snack. 

I could exercise whenever I wanted to without having to play the blood sugar numbers game first.  I could go to bed without wondering if I should eat first.  I could sleep through the night. 

So many immediate physical changes.  It’s hard enough to write all the minute details of diabetes to even imagine life without them. 

The emotional changes would be something else.  That part of a cure is what made me share a moment from my childhood.  I do everything in my power to be normal.  Yes, I’m diabetic and I work hard to manage it well but I don’t like to think about it.  I’m not the diabetic lady.  I’m me.  Diabetes will not keep me from being who I am. 

So the physical changes from a diabetes cure would be as public as those needs are now.  I imagine people focusing on that.  Oh, you’re cured now.  Now you don’t have to do . . . all the things I described.  But the emotional part.  The part I share fully with my husband and bits and pieces of with other people when I feel it’s appropriate, would be the part nobody would think of.  Like when the nightmarish pieces of my childhood ended.  Nobody thought about that part.  Everyone just thought the crappy part is over. 

And they were right but there’s more to it than that.  I’m 32 years old, haven’t spoken to my father at all in over 10 years, I know I’ve forgiven him but I’m still terrified to run into him somewhere, and I still think about it all.  I never imagined I would be an adult and still have to think about it but I do a lot.  I dread the day I have to tell my kids.  So far I’ve been able to dodge their questions. 

My diabetes is so intertwined in who I am I really think I would have another welcome hole in my life if I were cured.  Taking away such a source of emotional stress would take some time to get used to.  Even when something happens that is wrong and needs to stop, having it actually stop is disorienting to some degree.  Diabetes would be no different. 

Right now I imagine letting my 4 year old skip my CGM transmitter across the ocean but what would I really do if I were magically cured? 

I actually don’t mind being diabetic most of the time.  I cope by not thinking about it more than I need to.  I live my life and pursue my dreams.  It’s those unexpected moments when I cry about it, wishing it away in vain. 

I believe God made me this way for a reason.  I have no doubt that He knows exactly how I feel.  I know He is there cheering me on the same way He cheers on all of His children.  He didn’t send us here to fail.  He’s not laughing at our trials.  He gets emotional with us and like a good parent, He knows our trials will only make us stronger. 

I am who I am.  My life experiences enhance who I am, making me stronger than I ever would have been otherwise.  While a cure for diabetes would be welcome, to answer the question of what would I do and how would it change my life . . . I don’t know. 

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day 6 Taking a walk on the wild card side of DBW

Wild card - Blood Sugar Nirvana or Moronic Moment. (inspired by Kelly Kunik at Diabetesaliciousness) Blog about the time you ate a meal that tends to spike you to the moon, but your perfectly calculated and timed bolus kept your blood sugar happy. Or tell us about that time your brain had a little diabetes-blip and you did something you think is “stupid”. (Because chances are, we’ve done it too!!) Go ahead, brag about your triumph or commiserate about your d-blooper.

Solitude blankets the house.  Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.  The children were nestled all snug in their beds while visions of SpongeBob danced in their heads.  With husband in his kerchief and I in my cap,  wait, that’s not right! 

Soft snuffling snores stopped by


I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter, hissing a naughty word as the silence was shattered.  I patted myself down from head to foot thinking my CGM sensor had fallen out – kaput. 

As I patted my thoughts were many and frantic.  It’s a trial sensor I thought in a panic.  I searched all two pump screens remembering that the sensor held all info for insurance means. 

Finally my husband had an ah-ha look on his face.  He laughed as he lunged and started to race . . . for his laptop. 

“The battery is low warning it may soon be dead.  I’ve shut it up now, so let’s get back to bed!” my husband exclaimed.  We had a good laugh and soon closed our eyes.  Blissful sleep returned.  To all a good night. 

Not as easy to rhyme as it seems but this is my favorite d-blooper. 

Friday, May 14, 2010

My secret love affair Day 5 of DBW

Day 5- Let's get moving. Exercise . . . love it or hate it? Do you have a regular exercise routine? Or do you have trouble finding your exercise motivation? How do you manage your insulin and food to avoid bottoming out during your workout? Today is the day to tell us all about your exercise habits, or lack thereof.

He is fit and shiny. Like some kind of tight cotton spandex glistening treat. My heart starts pounding within seconds of being with him. He is so dreamy. Without saying a word, he makes me believe if I just do it I will look sooo good. Some girls can’t seem to resist the “bad boys.” His promises are too good to pass up. I try but inevitably fail.

No, I say. I’m too tired, I have better things to do today, maybe tomorrow, my blood sugar is too low anyway.

He finally relents his steely stare when I play the hypoglycemia card. We both agree on tomorrow.

Tomorrow comes and everything is in place. Timing is perfect, blood sugar is a little on the high side, but why can’t I make myself do it?

No, I moan. I’m too tired. The bed is too comfortable. It’s cold out there. Whine whine whine.

Telepathically he sends me an image of my white bathroom scale, the third trifecta of this crazy, secret love triangle. Fine, I grumble. I stumble out of bed and into my stretchy clothes. I turn the fan on even though the goosebumps on my arms tell me not to. I’m always grateful I did.

The right buttons are all pushed and before I know it, we are in the throes of it all. Suddenly this primal competitiveness surges out of me. I will not be outdone by some cartoon with visible abs under his T-shirt!

I push myself to my limits. When it’s over I pull out the fitness ball for ab work. My muscles are screaming in agony but it feels incredibly good at the same time. I’m hooked. We have to do this again soon, I say. He simply smiles that irresistible smirk of his and I know tomorrow will be another pressured conversation to go again. Our trysts are complicated.

Exercise and I may be the classic on again off again couple but when we are on speaking terms and are in sync, watch out. I am a power house. Nothing will stop me.

Exercise, and my personal trainer I have named Julio, have given me shoulders. Shoulders! I have never had shoulders before! I’m not even kidding. My neck sits on top of this wide plateau that slopes out like a mountain. I have never had shoulders, yet there they are. My legs have always been amazing but they are getting tighter than they have ever been. And my calves . . . well, they’re just awesome!

I have one more day of the EA Active 30 day challenge for the Wii. It’s only taken me a year to complete them all but there’s only one more to do. When school is over I think I will try to do the 30 day challenge in 30 days again. Gotta keep up my girlish figure that is finally being chiseled out of indolent lumpiness.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Just a Taste

To carb or not to carb. That is a good question. Let’s talk about the benefits of each decision.

Disclaimer: Now, I am not a nutritionist, nor do I remember anything from my college nutrition class I took to fill a general credit requirement. The only thing I remember was the professor saying that people who eat Total cereal think they are so smart because they are getting 100% of their daily vitamins and minerals. “What do they do the rest of the day?” she asked. Hmm. Good point. One bowl of cereal in the morning and you don’t have to eat the whole rest of the day! That would be awesome for an anorexic.

Carb Abstinence

Man cannot live on meat alone, especially when he’s diabetic and has an inevitable low. Let’s face it, at some point carbs will have to be consumed.

But I have tried carb abstinence with my last two pregnancies. I kind of had to. My blood sugar was impossible to control if I ate anything, bolus or not. I ate lettuce wrapped hamburgers. That was not as romantic as it sounds. I ate a lot of veggies because they have less carbs than fruit. And I ate crackers or fruit snacks when my blood sugar dropped low enough between meals. I could guarantee that lows would happen every day and I looked forward to it! I savored every bite of that rich carb goodness!

It is worth noting that my modified Atkins diet really did affect my weight. I gained a pound a week with my second pregnancy. Not an average, no, I gained 6 lbs by the time I saw my perinatologist when I was 6 weeks along. By the third trimester I was gaining almost 2 lbs a week, which is when I started the Atkins diet to control my blood sugar. The couple weeks where I had gained extra were followed by an equal number of weeks where I gained nothing. Then I was back to gaining a pound a week. My last pregnancy was hard for me to gain weight. I finally gained about 30 lbs with most of the weight gain in the last month or two. I was on the good old modified Atkins diet for about 7 out of 9 months.

Once the baby was born I was back to normal. I asked for a plain bagel with plain cream cheese after my second was born. The guy who delivered it was kind enough to cut the bagel for me since I only had one free hand with my 6 lb. 8oz. baby discreetly nursing in the other arm.

I went a little nuts with carbs after my short stint with carb abstinence. I am not even the tiniest bit surprised I still carry around as much baby weight as I do.

Carb Freedom

My philosophy is not to make food taboo. I believe that if you think a food is “bad” you’ll want it that much more. Moderation in all things, I say. My favorite doctor agreed with me. Based on his validation when I was 18 I have lived this way ever since.

As you can see in the video, I’m not afraid to let my children experience childhood, including *gasp* sugar. But how do I feel about consuming sugar myself? Eh, I’m not too interested. I don’t have a sweet tooth. But give me tangy, sour, chewy candy and I’m all over it. I love Skittles, Air Heads, Starburst, Laffy Taffy. Stuff like that.

I am a traitor to all womankind by not being much of a chocolate fan. Shocking I know. Every once in a while chocolate sounds good but that’s about it. My favorite candy bar is Snickers.

Oh but you wanted to know about regular food with carbs. Healthy food with carbs. I think healthy food has almost more carbs than the packaged stuff. The packaged stuff is a little easier to measure and bolus for. Just my opinion.

Foods I find bolus worthy regardless of carb content:

Cheetos, Fritos, pasta, Mexican food, burgers and fries

Foods I hate:

doughnuts, pizza, cinnamon rolls, pancakes

A food I don’t understand all the negative hype about is popcorn. Have you ever looked at the label on a package of microwave popcorn? It loses a lot of carbs just by popping it. Popcorn doesn’t affect my blood sugar so I snack on it with wild abandon. My all time favorite thing to eat after a long day, when the kids are in bed, is a bag of popcorn and a 20 oz. bottle of Diet Coke. Maybe watch a movie or catch up on DVR’d shows. It does not get any better than that!

Given the facts, I still strive for carb freedom but realistically I can’t do it like I used to. After 22 years with diabetes and three babies later, my body doesn’t respond to carbs like it once did. I hate to admit I’m getting old but it appears I am. So I am trying to cut down on carbs and eat more fruits and vegetables. It really helps my waistline. It’s not easy but I’m getting more used to it.

Do I want to be the model diabetic? Not really, if it means I have to eat a certain way. I am a human being whose pancreas gave out years ago. I try to live my life as normally as possible. The good news is with all the medical technology we have now, living normally is a lot easier.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I would like to thank the academy . . .

I thought I would share some history for today's writing prompt.

A month or two before I moved back home to student teach, I was on the phone with a Type 1 diabetic stranger. She knew my mom because they were both RN’s together at the same hospital. My mom had arranged the phone call because the nurse had an insulin pump.

I had heard about these cool little pager sized boxes that pumped insulin into diabetics. Beats the heck out of “shooting up” four times a day, which I was doing at the time. Humalog for meals and NPH to stick to my ribs and stay in my system working side by side with the “fast acting” Humalog.

This nurse was nice and briefly explained the benefits of the pump. The one thing that stuck out in my mind was her saying that diabetics that use the pump have to be willing to answer a lot of questions about it. Since junior high I had been telling people about my diabetes on a strict as needed basis. Now I was going home to ask my doctor for a neon sign announcing to the world my addiction to insulin! I just didn’t realize that most people would simply think it was a pager or a cell phone clipped to the top of my pants.

The Mini Med representative set up an appointment for me at the doctor’s office. Then at the last minute he canceled on me so I canceled my appointment with my doctor. He was not happy that I canceled to take a substitute job for a teacher I was hired to replace when he moved to another school district.

The cancelation was serendipitous because I met my husband for the first time between the canceled appointment and the rescheduled appointment. My husband has been my biggest support from the moment I met him. Well, maybe not. It was not love at first sight for us but that’s another story.

We started dating and at some point I told him I was diabetic. He didn’t even flinch. His mom had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes not long before we met. His interest in the disease was real. I told him about the $5000 worth of pump equipment and supplies 100% paid for by insurance that was sitting in a closet at my mom’s house. I admitted I had not seen the video yet. He eagerly told me he would watch it with me.

He is a gadget guy. A real guy’s guy. My pump was another toy to him. He helped me set it all up. I could not have been more grateful for his love of technology.

I remember we went to the park for a picnic dinner. We grabbed Subway on the way. Counting carbs was not a new thing for me nor was guessing how many carbs were in a fast food meal. I looked at my sandwich and did some math in my head. Then I held my thumb down on the up arrow key so the bolus units would come up faster than one tenth of a unit at a time. The love of my life watched me for a second before saying, “It’s not candy!” My appreciation for his quirky sense of humor would come later.

I share these stories because this is where it all began. Yes, I have always had family supporting me with my diabetes. I have had the rare friends I actually confided in about my diabetes. I have so many people in my corner ten years after these stories. Family, in laws I am extremely close with, friends, Internet friends (I met Shannon aka Mommy Going Crazy recently when I went home to visit my family. She and I met through blogging just months after her 4 year old was diagnosed with diabetes. A year later her youngest was also diagnosed with it.), I of course have met several people on Twitter and through this blogging week. But my biggest support has always been my husband.

He is the one who talked me into getting a CGM. He tries not to take it too personally that I still hate it. When I was doing my second trial with the CGM, for insurance purposes, I had to write down everything. What my BG’s were, what I ate, how much I ate, when, why, my height, weight, bra size, and every time I moved. I hated the exercise part of it. I wasn’t doing formal exercise at the time so I counted cleaning my house and trips to the playground with my kids. It was just hard to determine whether it was low, moderate, or high levels of exercise. My husband said I should write down intimacy every night for a duration of three hours each time! He said, “You know, just to give them something to read and talk about!”

My husband lets me cry about diabetes and he picks up the pieces when I’m done. He lets me rant about my endocrinologist, who I don’t like. He helps me analyze my data because my endo doesn’t do it effectively. Too bad we don’t know more than we do.

I’ve already mentioned how he pushes the button for me when I change my infusion set and he also inserts my CGM sensor in my arm for me.

My husband and I both wanted to have babies. He was a huge emotional support. He knows first hand what a challenge diabetes was in that process. He also supported me, without fully understanding why at the time, when I refused an amniocentesis to find out if our last baby really did have Down Syndrome or Trisomy 18. My reasoning was that she was our last. I could not tempt diabetes again with another pregnancy and I was not going to risk miscarriage just for piece of mind. She was born perfectly normal.

Karen said to gush and I have gushed till you’re all puking, if you’re still reading. My husband is an incredible support to me and the never ending demands of Type 1 diabetes.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Weapon of Choice Day 2 of Diabetes Blog Week

Day 2 – Making the low go. Tell us about your favorite way to treat a low. Juice? Glucose tabs? Secret candy stash? What’s your favorite thing to indulge in when you are low? What do you find brings your blood sugar up fast without spiking it too high?

I am the model diabetic.  On the rare occasion that my blood sugar drops low I eat exactly 15 grams of carbs and retest exactly 15 minutes later, retreating with another 15 grams as necessary. 

I almost never have to retreat a low because, as the model diabetic, I treat lows with glucose tabs.  Sour apple are my favorite.  Or I will use the drink that comes with the two glucose tab bottles from Costco.  Sometimes I splurge and buy the tube of frosting that looks like Halloween makeup and tastes like feet. 

Ok, I can’t keep this charade up much longer!  I am anything but the model diabetic.  I do have glucose tabs by the side of my bed but I rarely eat them.  I usually use them when I’m on vacation or at church.  I have a small tube in my scripture bag.  Sour apple really is my favorite.  My husband says glucose tabs look like big Smarties.  He finally tried one a few weeks ago, just to see.  He said it tasted like a big Smartie too.  And the diabetic frosting . . . have you ever had the unfortunate need to eat one of those?  I did at the hospital, visiting my baby in the NICU.  I nearly puked it was so nasty!  The nurses were very sympathetic. 

No, my weapon of choice is fruit snacks.  I have been eating fruit snacks with virtually every low for the last nine plus years.  I honestly don’t remember what I ate before I met my husband.  I think I just binged on whatever I could find in the house.  Tortillas were my favorite. 

My husband bought me a Costco pack of fruit snacks either when we were engaged or soon after we got married.  It had three different varieties in the pack.  Cherry, Strawberry, or Mixed Berry.  They are absolutely nasty.  They taste like toxic silly putty.  But when you’re low you don’t taste much.  At least I don’t.  I have eaten dinner so fast I was disappointed I didn’t savor it.  But I was low! 

The nice thing about the fruit snacks were the fact that there were 2.5 servings in each bag.  So I was eating about 40 grams of carbs.  Too much I know, but since they were made from fruit juice the extra carbs helped sustain my blood sugar over time. 

Costco stopped selling the yucky fruit snacks so I got hooked on Welch’s.  Those are really good.  Made with 100% real fruit juice.  Mmm . . . tasty.  The packages were small so I usually ate two.  Now Costco doesn’t have the Welch’s fruit snacks anymore so I eat my kids’ Jelly Belly fruit snacks.  We used to buy two different boxes of fruit snacks.  One for me and one for the kids.  My kids would say their blood sugar was low hoping I would let them eat mine!  Now we all eat from the same box.  Is that weird?

The Jelly Belly fruit snacks are delicious too, they just stick to my teeth.  Hard to shove the whole package in my mouth in public and have a normal conversation with anyone later.  Actually, if I ate them one at a time they would still stick to my teeth. 

Yes, I’m a pig.  I eat the whole thing at once because I’m low and in a hurry.  I also do it because the flavor is more intense that way.  I eat Skittles the same way.  It just tastes better.  My four year old is always saying, “Watch this Mom.  I eat them like you!”  I have lectured him many times against this because it’s bad manners. 

My kids know where I stash all the fruit snacks.  They know I have tons in my purse.  For me and for them.  My purse is a bag of tricks that keeps my kids happy in public when needed.  They have seen my stash by the side of the bed, they know I have at least one package in my scripture bag, and I used to keep them in the car.  But I haven’t for a few years.  Fruit snacks are actually quite gross and they taste even worse when they’ve been heated up in a hot car and cooled down at night several times.  The good news is they contain 100% of the recommended intake of Vitamin C for the day.  My fluffy tummy is actually full of extra Vitamin C.  I’m sure of it.

Just in case you were wondering, if I eat fruit snacks at night, I eat one package and have a glass of milk.  The protein helps it sustain my blood sugar.  Most of the time anyway.  If I’m super low in the middle of the night I eat cereal. 

I do eat other things when I’m low depending on my mood.  Let’s face it, as diabetics, that shaky feeling means freedom to eat whatever.  Sometimes I do.  There have been many times when I have eaten until I feel better then paid for it later.    The joys of diabetes!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Day 1 – A day in the life . . . with diabetes

Take us through a quick rundown of an average day and all the ways in which diabetes touches it. Blood tests, site changes, high and low blood sugars, meal planning, anything that comes along. This can be a log of an actual day, or a fictional compilation of pieces from many days.

I thought I would do this game show style. Imagine several women have been chosen to compete on a reality show. These women all have Type 1 diabetes given to them for one day. That right there is amazing. If someone could be given this obnoxious disease for one day doesn’t that mean the rest of us can take a day off from it? How awesome would that be?

Anyway, back to D day on

Survivor Diabetes Island for Mothers

The day begins in the middle of the night where the mothers are given one of the following scenarios to deal with.

1. Child waking up in the night to be nursed and/or bottle fed, or is vomiting, or is not breathing from a case of croup. If Mom gets through her situation without low blood sugar, 20 minutes after she falls asleep again she will wake up sweating with her heart pounding out of her chest. Once the low is corrected, sleep will not return until 15 minutes before the alarm goes off for the day. Welcome to motherhood with diabetes!

The mom who tries to tap dry formula in her mouth while her baby drinks the bottle to counteract low blood sugar is disqualified. So is the mom who sucks on the breast milk soaked burp cloth. The mom whose husband feeds the baby a bottle while Mom feeds herself, or feeds Mom brownies glucose tabs while she nurses, gets 50 extra points.

2. The alarm goes off and Mom forces herself out of bed to face the day. She remembers she needs to change her infusion set. If she can do this herself she gets my utmost respect. I am too terrified to do it myself. Like Mos Def’s character in The Italian Job, “I had a bad experience!” So if her husband is like mine and will do it for her, well, she gets 100 extra points right there because diabetes waits for no one, irrational fears and all.

3. Breakfast. Mom gets points added or deducted based on her blood sugar reading and her ability to react to the situation. Her decision will be based mostly on her insulin resistance for this time of day. Many people are very resistant in the morning. Me, I’m now resistant at lunch time. Weird.

4. Get children ready for school all while gussying herself up for the day. If this can be done without anyone yelling for any reason, oh wait. That has nothing to do with diabetes. But that’s kind of the point. I may have diabetes but I’m still a wife, mother, friend, blah blah blah. Life goes on.

5. Drive children to school. The curve ball thrown in here is that Mom can feel her blood sugar dropping. She desperately tries to avoid the gossipy moms who can detain her at school for an hour or more all because they know she’s a SAHM. She carries her cell phone so she can pretend to get an important call “while the phone is on vibrate” or an emergency text even though she doesn’t pay for texting service. Ooh. That mom is smart. She gets at least 30 extra points for her brilliance.

6. The morning continues without incidence. Maybe Mom finds time for exercise, maybe not. As long as the kids are alive and happy it doesn’t matter. Bonus points for Mom who interacts in a meaningful way with her kids. But again, that has nothing to do with diabetes.

7. Lunch. Like breakfast, Mom is awarded points for eating something healthy. Choosing to bolus for Cheetos is frowned upon but not forbidden. She is still a busy mother after all. Cut her some slack.

8. In the afternoon Mom goes to school to pick up her child/children. As she is walking across the schoolyard her preschooler randomly announces, quite loudly I might add, “My blood sugar is low.” Mom knows the child is not diabetic. She tries to downplay the situation by mm hmming. He insists. Mom is starting to get embarrassed because other mothers are looking at her. She finally says, “You shouldn’t talk like that since you don’t have that problem.” Not that I’ve had any experience with this . . .

9. Mom goes on a cleaning frenzy. What will this do to her blood sugar? What will she do about it? What will she say to her children who don’t understand why she gets to eat before dinner?

10. Dinner. You know the drill. But just to throw a wrench in the day of lows, let’s say Mom has a really carb rich dinner.

11. Post dinner test. Oh, was I supposed to mention that Mom tests before and after every meal and anytime she feels crappy in between? Well, she does. And if she does she gets 10 more points. Only 10 because it’s not like testing is hard. If I’m good at doing something I expect everyone else to be too. Just kidding. Anyway, Mom’s blood sugar is higher than a kite. Now what?

12. Mom is awarded points for successfully bringing down her blood sugar post dinner. Mom has points taken away for falling asleep on the couch because of her high blood sugar that is so unresponsive to the corrections she has thrown at it. But is that really fair? Some days diabetes sucks rotten eggs.

13. Eventually Mom goes to bed. Not that it matters. She doesn’t sleep. Diabetes, snoring, and children all take care of any physical need to reach REM. If REM is achieved her vivid dreams can raise or lower her blood sugar. Exercise, like trying to run away but her feet are stuck in sand, will lower it. Eating chocolate cake will raise it. And yes, we are still talking about dreams.

The mother with the most points wins. But they’re all winners because once the game is over they go back to their normal, non diabetic lives. The rest of us try to balance real life with the demands of a disease that has no cure. Only ways to cope and manage. On the bad days I like to watch this video.

On the good days I quote Spongebob Squarepants. spongebob

Yes, I realize the blanket was attached to the door backwards. Like diabetes, it is what it is.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

What’s that in the shopping bag? A new self image!

New clothes are fun.  New clothes boost self esteem.  New clothes inspire. 

These reactions to new clothes transcend all ages.  Adults like new clothes because only babies need to replace their entire wardrobe every three months.  Children, surprisingly, enjoy new clothes too.  Just not as much for gifts. 

It’s obvious when someone gets new clothes.  Besides the tell tale new clothes smell and the perfect creases, the person is seen strutting.  They stand straighter with shoulders proudly thrown back.  They walk differently when it’s new shoes too.  After a few steps the person holds their foot out, however subtly, to admire the pristine shell covering it.

Stacy London and Clinton Kelly have fashion careers built around the successful advice to dress one’s body in it’s current state.  Don’t wait for some magic number on the scale or any other procrastinatory excuse.  The time to look good is now. 

Clinton Kelly has told women who want to lose weight that if they feel good about themselves now, they are more likely to do what it takes to lose the weight.  Truer words have never been spoken. 

My new clothes are sitting in a bag just waiting for me to knock out that new clothes smell with drippy, salty sweat rings.  My new clothes are workout clothes.  It’s not like I got a new power suit! 

These workout clothes are an epic change for me.  I have always loved working out.  Send me outside to play and I would rather lie in a lounge chair sunning myself.  But put me in a weight room, or in front of a TV with some routine workout video and I’m all over it.  I have aerobic steps, weights, a fitness ball, and a large rubber band with handles.  Run around the park?  Not interested.  Isolate myself in a room of torture devices and a video that never changes?  I’m there! 

Because this is how I choose to exercise . . . by the way, I also count standing in front of a wall while someone drives their car up to me stopping inches from my toes as exercise.  Whatever gets your heart rate up is the definition of cardiovascular exercise right?  Anyway, because my way of exercising doesn’t require me to see other people I have never owned anything close to workout attire. 

I lied.  In junior high I was in a dance class so my mom made me cotton spandex shorts and leotards to practice in.  The stretchy form fitting clothes were made with love but I never could dance.  Maybe that’s why I chose to block the experience from my memory. 

Any time I have worked out in public I have worn a pair of boxer shorts and an oversized t-shirt that would probably fit my husband’s 6’2” frame.  What I wear now to work out in, in the comfort of my own home, is a pair of boxer shorts from college that were too little then and a tank top that has shrunk to the point that my stomach spills out the bottom.  Sexy.  Oh, and I wear a nursing sports bra.  It’s not really a sports bra.  The saleslady told me it was what I could wear to bed so my nursing pads would stay in place.  And anyone who has ever nursed or slept with a nursing woman knows that at night the possibility for drowning in breast milk is really high. 

Needless to say, I throw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt to take my son next door on my neighbor’s carpool day.  I wouldn’t want to subject my neighbors to blindness from my endorphin laced sense of fashion at 8:00 am.   My new clothes will allow me to answer the door if needs be without having to find a robe or a large parka first. 

My new clothes make me look amazing.  Seriously.  Up until these miraculous stretchy cotton duds entered my life, I have tried to make peace with my stomach.  Like Kevin James, I want to work it until it stops shaking when I brush my teeth.  Then it’s all maintenance after that.  But then I put on these capri yoga pants.  They looked plain and unpromising on the hanger.  I stepped into those pants, pulled them up and my legs were immediately transformed into Greek goddess perfection.  And my stomach . . . what stomach? 

I thought I was being tricked by the mirror.  But when I showed my husband the clothes he got me for Mother’s Day (it takes a real man to think outside the chocolate box), he asked when I got so thin.  He’s seen me in all my glory and I have never looked that good!  Not even pre kids. 

All I can think about is what Clinton Kelly said about dressing your body now so you have the confidence to lose weight.  Holy that’s all I want to do!  Step into my magic pants with my real sports bras and performance tank top or t-shirt and use all my implements of exercise torture to melt before your very eyes. 

New clothes are so inspiring.  Have you had any life altering experiences with new clothes?

Friday, April 30, 2010

Thank you World Wide Web

It started out as a normal dinner at a family favorite, Granny’s Drive In. 


The bummer was the pierced and tattooed cashier saying they were out of fries.  “What did that mean?” the family asked each other in hushed whispers.  “Will they make more soon?”  Nobody asked the teenage cashier with a cigarette sitting on his ear like a pencil.  Dad ordered himself onion rings instead of fries. 

They all laughed and talked while gorging themselves on burgers, onion rings, and Granny’s famous shakes.  

After dinner, the four adults and baby climbed into the car.  The gray four door sedan turned onto the road and into moderate traffic considering it was Heber City, UT.  The baby was fussy and the family wondered if she could handle an hour long trip home.  Grandma started feeding her toddler snacks, the kind that look like cereal but immediately melt on the tongue.  The baby was still crying and was in no mood for snacks from Grandma. 

Several snacks in her open wailing mouth meant gagging and nearly choking.  Mom looked back with concern at the first gagging noise.  The car was stopped at a light but Dad deftly pulled out of the lane making a right hand turn.  A couple feet on the side street revealed an entrance into a parking lot. 

The stores were all closed for the night.  Small towns don’t provide much retail entertainment after 9:00 pm, even on a Friday night.  The parking lot was empty.  Dad pulled up alongside a vacant store and Mom bolted from the front seat to the back seat almost before the car stopped completely.  In record time Mom was unbuckling her baby to pat her back. 

The choking stopped as soon as Baby was relieved from the indignity of a rear facing car seat.  Grandma asked if the family should stop for a minute to feed Baby.  Mom agreed.  Grandma and Mom traded places in the car. 

While Baby played with her bottle, much to Mom’s irritation, Dad pulled out his new iPad.  His fingers danced across the screen to pull up the commercials mentioned earlier that evening.

Commercial number one, number two, number three, and the final commercial viewed in a parking lot.

Cackles, giggles, and guffaws rang out from the car in the deserted parking lot.  Onlookers did not know what to think.  A short time later they were back on the road. 

The family quoted lines from the commercials and laughed some more.  The giggles soon died down and the only sound in the traveling car was the soft snoring from the passengers. 

Thank you World Wide Web.  This evening has been dedicated to you. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

On a hot summer day . . .

Blood curdling screams filled the air and echoed in my head.  The crunch of metal off in the distance made me want to vomit. 

Click.  Click.  Click.

Wind rushed all around me and I knew I should’ve enjoyed the calm before the storm.  The smell of hot grease melting in the sun scorched my nostrils.  Brakes screeched but we didn’t stop.  I opened my eyes just in time to see the trees turn upside down.  My head was pounding as if any second my ears would explode, shooting blood in short bursts in time with the intense thudding of my heart. 

Was it my head ringing or was it the incessant screaming?

Sarah McLachlan calmly reverberated in the back of my mind, “This is gonna hurt like hell . . .”  Sudden impact drove the point home.  I violently jolted forward only to immediately snap back.  The screeching brakes slowly died down. 

For a brief moment all was silent.

My hands somehow unglued themselves from the sweaty safety bar.  Muffled retching sounds caught my attention.  A glistening fat man filled his baseball cap.  Suddenly I remembered why I had sworn off riding the roller coaster.

~ ~ ~

This is fiction.  I wrote it for fun.  Any thoughts?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Step one: Start running

Running is a means for humans to move quickly on foot. It is faster than walking and involves having both feet in the air at the same time, at least for a moment. Running was first discovered as effective when man chased down his first meal.

Running was practical especially when large, menacing beasts challenged man to a staring contest. Or when Cain charged after Abel. Eventually the Olympics were born and running became part of the athletic events. Coroebus, a cook from Elis, won the stade in 776 BC. This was the first record we have of a race in the Olympics. For all anyone knows maybe he just had too much cooking sherry and was running around in the buff for the fun of it. Without the wind resistance of clothes, Coroebus was pretty quick. Whatever happened, running somehow became contest worthy.

Runners came up with this list of techniques to practice. Techniques. For running. People practice running. With coaches and everything. For running.

As true as this simplistic approach to training for a marathon is, there is more to it than just running the day of a race. This episode of How I Met Your Mother goes on to show Marshal training for the marathon while Barney puts on a track suit the day of the race. Barney finishes quickly and then gets on the subway because it’s free to the marathon participants that day. Unfortunately for him, his legs no longer work and he can’t get off the train. He just rides around all day hitting on girls until he has to call Ted to rescue him.

Running is funny. Well, when you find no pleasure in it. But for many people, running is a wonderful thing. It gives them a sense of satisfaction. It releases endorphins which are a natural high. Running is a natural way to battle depression and it is even reported to combat the mental effects of aging.

Honestly, I have great respect for runners. Mostly because I can’t do it. My brother ran cross country in high school. I loved watching his races. The races were three miles long. Three mile races. Who does that? It was amazing to watch. His wife enjoys running too. She has ran several marathons just because she can. Recently she ran in Salt Lake City’s half marathon.

I took Trax with my family to support her and watch her cross the finish line. Part of the running route followed the Trax lines. We passed by so many runners. It was interesting to see the different shapes and sizes of people competing in the half marathon. I saw women with full faces of makeup and fully styled hair running. Hard to make fun of women like that because I would do it. And they were out there running. I run in place in my room. Not the same thing.

A woman wanted to bike in a marathon type race. She began practicing in her home on a stationary bike. She was extremely proud of herself for biking a few miles the first night. When she took a real bike ride she panted and struggled through one mile. This went on for a while – success on her stationary bike then struggling on a real bike. She never built up her endurance on the real road. But no worries. She was going to take the week off before the race to save her strength. All I have to say is good luck with that race, Barneyrella.

Back to the half marathon . . . we got to the finish line at the Gateway. Some runners would jog in red in the face, sweating, panting, ready to die. Suddenly they found some magical burst of energy. The sight of the finish line reminded them of whatever they were running for and they kicked it in for the last several yards. It was extremely inspiring.

Many runners would come through pumping their arms above their heads. The crowd went wild. Actually, there were cheers of some kind for every participant. The ones who looked ready to give up were given encouraging shouts from the onlookers. A few stopped running and started walking. The crowd went nuts. “Don’t give up! Come on! You’re almost there!” I think I only saw one or two walk in. Everyone else dug deep and pushed themselves to run across that finish line.

My sister in law finished with cheers from her family and nearby strangers. She had a big smile on her face and since we all forgot cameras no pictures were taken. The cell phone wouldn’t focus fast enough so there was one picture of nothing. Her euphoria was contagious. She had done her personal best. My favorite part was when she said her goal was to be to Liberty Park before being lapped by the full marathon runners. She was past Liberty Park and only two miles from finishing the half marathon before the first marathon runner passed. That guy was awesome. White guy, not some guy from Africa. He finished 26 miles in 2.5 hours! For real.

I may not run and I have no desire to, but I will always respect those who do. I am inspired by the runners who do it to prove something to the world or prove something to themselves. One girl had a T-shirt on that said, “I run for M.E.” Not sure what M.E. stands for if it doesn’t mean ‘me.’ Run for a charity, run for a living, run for family or friends, run for yourself. Just run. Meanwhile I will huff and puff in place while my cartoon trainer compliments my efforts.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Beautiful Melancholy

She was going to enjoy this rotten mood.  Ease her way into it and really get the most mileage possible out of a dreary disposition.  The day started out dark and black. 

A torrential downpour of emotion pounded for several minutes.  Then it would let up a little as if maybe it might cease.  Maybe she would realize the awful state she was in and stop savoring it so much.  But the addiction to morosity couldn’t be stopped.  It forged on as a new flood of sadness started as quickly as it had ended. 

The tears were steady. 

The sky would lighten to a bright gray for brief moments.  Then a fresh barrage of despondency.  Puddles of dejection were never calm.  Constant dripping.  Never ending rings and ripples of eternal crying.  The sky would soon open up and let loose the silent howling of an anguished soul. 

This is not the remorse that comes from a goldfish dying the same day it is purchased.  No amount of chocolate, caffeine, carb rich food, nail polish, or shopping was going to mask this problem.  This is deep loss.  The wracking torment of the depths of despair. 

The intensity of her depression was beginning to lash out.  There was no consoling her.  Any fleeting hope had long since flitted away.  In one final horrific tantrum the gut wrenching moaning furiously stormed down.  She angrily sobbed the last of it out.  Every last tear painstakingly squeezed and wrung out.  Exhaustion dictated there was nothing left to do but dry up.

Weakly the sun made its first cameo appearance of the day.  It was as if common sense was slowly being rediscovered.  The dolefulness was not nearly as impossible as imagined.  Being emotionally drained from exultation in her own misery the sky steadily grew dimmer.  But no more rain.  She had cried until she can cry no more.  She has been dehydrated ever since. 

After 12 days off from school for Spring Break, today was the first day back.  It was painful.  My six year old writhed on the floor last night bemoaning his fate.  I really felt for the kid.  It’s possible Mother Nature did too. 

She couldn’t imagine missing out on the giggles or the imagination.  So she spent the day mourning. 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Cost of a Dollar

Everyone is hurt by the current economy.  Unions are protesting every other day as if protesting is a rite of passage.  Fees are being raised all across the board.  People are up in arms over it.  How dare someone else be affected by the economy!  How dare they raise fees to compensate! 

Watching the news is like watching a circus side show.  The cause and effect takes on a level of surrealism.  Like a Salvador Dali painting melting.  thumbnail[2]

Besides the controversial proposal to create a daytime curfew for juveniles . . . that wasn’t already a law?  It was when I was growing up.  Parents are beside themselves shouting that this is racial profiling.  One angry parent said,“The Latino kids will be caught for truancy which will introduce them into the system and before we know it they will be on the road to prison.”  Don’t all kids, minority or not, have the choice to just attend school like they’re supposed to?  Stay out of gateway trouble altogether?  How is this a debate?  But I digress from my original point.

The newest outrage among the Bay Area community is the proposal to increase tolls across the Golden Gate Bridge.  Not just for regular traffic but for carpoolers too.  “We may be the only bridge in the United States who doesn’t charge for carpooling.”  A quote from some lady in a suit.

What is most crazy is they want to charge pedestrians and bicyclists to cross the bridge too.  A small poll of tourists concluded that people are generally ok with this idea.  After all, it’s only a dollar per person.  They paid enough to visit San Francisco, what’s another dollar to cross a landmark bridge?

But here lies the problem.  The one thing no one thought of. 

Some guy is having a bad day.  He lost his job, his significant other left him and his cat ran away.  Plus, he burned dinner and the acrid smell still hangs in the air.  Ok, the guy is having more than a bad day.  He’s depressed.  To the point that he is considering leaving this world.  His debt is astronomical and without a job to even make a dent in the payments . . . well, you can see how late at night desperate thoughts are entertained.

The Golden Gate Bridge looms in his mind and in the picturesque view from the apartment he cannot afford.  A metaphorical light bulb blinks on in his mind.  But he has to pay $1 just to get on the bridge.  A whole dollar to jump. 

The government applauds Golden Gates’ efforts to save millions to help ‘bridge’ the financial gap.  A financial gap that has been in the making for years.  Government spending is like a bum on the street begging for a buck you know will only be wasted on booze.  It took being trillions of dollars in debt before our government decided to reverse course.  And now Jon Doe can’t even escape his impossible situation without the government gaining from his loss.

Is there no rest for the weary?

(Because it is difficult to hear tone of voice through writing, I need to say that I am being sarcastic and facetious.  This post is supposed to be funny!)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


People have many strange addictions.  I didn’t realize clutter was mine. 

As much as I hate clutter it’s interesting that I have so much of it.  Even after spending a day organizing clutter, clutter still reigns supreme.  This may always be the case. 

I have come to accept a lot of it.  The alternative would be to purge memories.  Or at least those things that someday may be useful.  The rule is that if something hasn’t been looked at or used in a year then get rid of it. 

Rules were made to be broken!

The bookshelves are overflowing with books.  Books are stacked two deep on many shelves.  Another bookshelf is crammed full of books, magazines, scrapbook paper, scrapbook supplies, among many other items.  It would take a psychiatrist to convince me I don’t need these things.  And even then I wouldn’t listen. 

To throw away these bookshelf items would be the equivalent of having a food fight in the Louvre. 

The rest of the clutter can’t be helped either.  We need a better storage system for all the cords, electronics, cords, important papers that never seem to get filed, cords, and more cords. 

The size of living space has nothing to do with it.  Regardless of tiny apartment with no storage, house with a basement and garage to accumulate clutter, or whatever, every horizontal surface is covered.  Vertical space is stacked as tall as possible without precariousness. 

My parents bought me a headboard with built in storage when I was a kid.  I remember looking at the three large divided spaces.  It felt so empty and as much as I tried to keep myself from doing it, I rushed to fill the space.  Soon each of the three compartments were stuffed full of things.  The top of the headboard, being a horizontal surface, soon housed many knickknacks and other various dust collectors. 

When I pride myself on organizing the clutter in my life, all I’ve really done is arranged the clutter into neat little piles.   But it works and that’s all that matters.  If that’s all it takes to calm my racing heart and inspire creativity, then it is worth it. 

This morning I walked downstairs to a beautiful sight.  The rugs were straight.  The floors were visible.  The carpet and furniture felt so tidy.  The office looked foreign in its cleanliness.  Dishes didn’t take up all the counter space.  Those few moments of quiet serenity nourished my very soul. 

Soon the kids would get up with their bounding energy.  Soon the toys would make their daily parade downstairs.  Soon the blank computer would call to me.  Soon the neatly stacked scrapbooking supplies would entice me to dive in, once again creating the clutter I had just put away. 

I will surrender to the call of creativity.

I find that the most fascinating thing about taming clutter.  The peace and calm lasts only so long before it is overpowered by the need to create. 

I used to keep my bedroom messy because it kept my brother and sister out.  But I have to admit I did like it when I cleaned my room and they would naturally find their way into my room to talk, laugh, and do headstands in front of my full length mirror.  Something about my clean room inspired our best ideas. 

Every time I organize my kids’ toys I feel like I should be committed for insanity.  The end results are amazing in spite of the conflict I feel during the project.  This time I asked them to help me and when they balked at the idea I was secretly relieved.  I basked in my cleaning frenzy. 

When I finish, they discover toys they forgot they had.  They play so much more creatively and cooperatively.  It doesn’t last long before they resume their bad habits of tossing toys wherever just so long as the floor is empty before bedtime.  They are getting better at putting things back where they belong.  I believe they recognize the joy that comes from everything in its place and try to make that feeling last. 

My love/hate relationship with clutter is therapeutic to me.  I hate it enough to do something about it.  Then I feel like I’ve accomplished something big.  This inspires all of us to play harder and create better.  That brings back the clutter and the cycle continues.  What would I do without clutter?  I need it to survive. 

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Life Takes Ganas

Chills took over my being yesterday when my husband told me that Jaime Escalante passed away.  This man was amazing.  Legendary.  His passion for teaching has inspired me since I first heard of him when American Playhouse aired ‘Stand and Deliver.’ 

The news of his passing immediately took me back to my original passion – teaching.  I remembered the insatiable desire to teach and to change the world.  I didn’t want to be Jaime Escalante.  He was his own person.  My goal to be a teacher began when I was six or seven years old.  I remember my parents telling me I was loud and bossy and would make a good teacher.  For some reason it seemed like a good idea!  The older I got the more I realized what a teaching career meant.  The more I heard, regardless of negativity, the more I wanted it. 

The word “Ganas” was displayed in my locker throughout high school.  I would see that word and remember how dedicated Mr. Escalante was in everything he did.  I like to believe I was too.  People have always accused me of being an all or nothing person.  Black or white without seeing any gray.  It’s probably true.  My adolescence was spent digging in to fulfill my dreams.  Nothing was going to stop me. 

My dreams included far more than teaching.  Ganas got me through it all.  I am still in awe that I am living my dreams today.

I remember college.  It was not easy.  I can now look back on it fondly as one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life.  I remember my education classes and the electricity that would surge through me as I sat in class.  There were so many girls who were in education because it would be an easy career for raising a family.  I was never in it for the ease and convenience.  Every once in a while I feel remorse for becoming a statistic.  The girl who became a teacher, sought a job in Utah where it was oversaturated with girls just like me, got the job, taught a few years, then quit to raise a family.  It was never my goal.  But sometimes you can’t plan life.

My passion for teaching was obviously fueled by Mr. Escalante.  But he taught me so much more.  He taught me that anyone can succeed with the proper motivation and enough hard work.  Intro to Special Ed was a required course for education majors at my school.  When my professor described Special Education as a way to level the playing field I was hooked.  I double majored in Elementary and Special Education as a result.  Jaime Escalante leveled the playing field for his students. 

Jaime Escalante was not afraid to try something different.  He was willing to try things that nobody else was willing to try and to believe in people others had written off.  I did that as much as I could as a teacher.  I continue to live my life that way now.  Dozens of my own personal success stories with students and youth I have worked with at church, come to mind when I think of Mr. Escalante’s legacy. 

Today I watched ‘Stand and Deliver.’ My six year old decided to watch with me.  I tried to explain the story as best I could but I know he is not yet mature enough to understand.  He hated the beginning of the movie and said the kids were mean.  Even though he didn’t fully grasp why they made the choices they did I believe he could see how they changed when Mr. Escalante inspired them to aim higher. 

My son wants to be a teacher.  He knows I used to teach so he may be emulating me.  One day he will get it.  One day he will understand how significant Jaime Escalante’s influence has been in education.  For now he wonders why the good people have to die. 

Jaime Escalante may have reached old age and lost his battle with cancer but his legacy will always live on.  My life has been changed significantly because I watched his story when I was 11.  Who knows how many more lives will be touched after all the lives he has touched already. 

Part of my teaching philosophy is a quote I love.  “You can count the seeds in a single apple but you can never count the apples in a single seed.”  Jaime Escalante is the definition of that quote.  He is amazing.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Exercise in Futility

Overcoming bad habits takes the same steps.

1.  Recognizing there is a problem.
2.  Hoping the problem will go away on its own.
3.  Thinking good thoughts when step #2 doesn’t work.
4.  Work.

Two steps would make more sense but let’s be honest, we all have to throw in the extra two steps in the middle. 

Step #3 has been quite successful for my weight loss in the last couple months but it was time to move on.  I missed Julio, the name I gave my EA Active Wii Fit trainer.  He looks nothing like a Julio but it’s an inside joke so I call him that.  By the middle of the workout I was not calling him Julio anymore!

The workout started out really well.  I had great form and Julio agreed.  I was sweating and breathing hard but I was getting the job done.  Yeah!  I was doing something good for myself and it felt great. 

Julio made me do a set of 16 squats.  Easy.  Then he made me do some lunges.  I hate lunges but I concentrated on my form and did each one as if it were the first.  What’s next Julio?  Fast kick ups. 

Fast kick ups are when you run in place while kicking your legs high enough to kick your own behind.  The person I created to look similar to myself does the same motion around a simulated track.  After a long set of squats followed by a long set of lunges, fast kick ups make me want to die.  There is no regular running.  No resting.  Just fast kick ups for what feels like three miles. 

My lungs were burning.  My legs of steel felt nothing like steel.  More like soupy Jell-O.  I panted for a while after the exercise was over before pushing the button to move onto the next. 

Thankfully it was an arm exercise.  As I finished the last rep, Julio said, “That got your heart rate up!  Nice!”  I wanted to shout back, “Dude!  My heart hasn’t slowed down from the track!”  But my concentration was all on continuing to breathe in and out.

I did another round of squats and two different types of lunges before I got to rest while working on my arms again.  All I could think of was the Friends episode where Rachel tells Joey that her gynecologist tried to kill her.  My trainer, a cartoon, was some sort of hit man in gray sweats and a tight T-shirt.  Nobody’s abs and pecs look like that in a T-shirt!

Somehow the torture ended.  I kept eying my bed and the futon in my room, wondering which one was closer to collapse on while my lungs exploded. 

Instead I grabbed my big, green, rubber fitness ball.  I could only get through two sets of 10 sit ups.  Good heavens!  How bad of shape am I actually in? 

My husband was working from home today, thank goodness.  I told him to get 911 on speed dial.  I was coming down to get some water.  I laid on the couch while my entire body trembled.  The only part of my body that was not emitting audible screams from torn muscles were my eyelashes. 

Happy first day of exercising.  Too bad it was an exercise in futility because I can only imagine the pain if I have to do this again tomorrow!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I won

Success comes in different ways.  It is always accompanied by relief.  Being successful is hard work.  It takes a lot of determination, perseverance  and even more “in your face, I will prove you wrong” attitude. 

I don’t know why I am out to prove the world wrong.  It’s built into who I am.  When I win it’s a glorious thing.  Today I feel like I have won. 

Today I visited my endocrinologist. 

My husband prepped me for the visit by giving me nice words to say to my doctor to get my needs met and my point across.  I have spent my entire life attempting to hold my caustic tongue.  It’s not easy but I’m getting better. 

The visit went well.  Everything was down into a more acceptable range.  My weight, which he never commented on but I don’t care, my blood pressure, my average blood sugar readings, and the amount of insulin I use, which he didn’t comment on that either but I don’t care. 

I won because I brought all of these things down myself.  Well, my new ace inhibiting medication may have helped my blood pressure but it could be argued that my decreased stress level helped that too!  I won because not once did the doctor mention Symlin.  I recently read that diabetics don’t produce two different hormones.  We only take insulin but there is another hormone we are missing and Symlin helps fill that gap.  But that’s not why my doctor wanted me on it.  He thought it would curb my appetite and help me lose weight.  You can read all about that rotten day here

I won because I don’t have to see him next month.  He told me to see him in two months!  This is big.  It means he feels my diabetes management is stable enough to not have to see him next month.  I have been seeing this guy every month for 13 months.  My numbers have been spiraling more and more out of control every time I see him as he jacks up my basal rates which has created many, many issues. 

I won because I took control of my basal rates and insulin to carb ratios and I lost nearly 10 pounds just by lowering my insulin needs!  I have less lows which means I don’t have to eat as much.  I won.  Any way you look at it I won. 

My husband says that my doctor probably thinks he won because he got me mad enough to make these changes.  It’s hard to say if this was all reverse psychology or not.  Either way I don’t care.  He can be happy and I can be happy.  He can sleep at night thinking he won and I will run through the streets, flailing my arms, screaming that I won. 

Regardless of who won, the point is I’m a healthier diabetic. 

It feels good to win.  It feels good to be back on the healthy side of Type 1 diabetes.   It feels insanely good to have lost as much weight as I have.  Only 20 more pounds to go.  That seems so doable since I haven’t even introduced exercise into this weight loss equation yet!  Too many lows.  Now my blood sugar is more stable and I think I’m ready to be told I’m doing awesome by my cartoon Wii Fit trainer again.

It has been sprinkling off and on all morning.  I walked out to my van with the sun shining.  The happy sunshine shone the whole way home enveloping me in warmth, relief and that high that comes from kicking some serious butt!  Skipalong by Lenka was playing on my drive home.  I was happy that I was no longer skipping along quite merrily, reveling in hating what’s going on.  I worked hard to change what was going on and I won.