Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy 3 Year Blogiversary!

I don’t take a moment on Labor Day to remember that was when I found out I have Type 1 diabetes.  I used to remember the day I was in a nasty car accident but June 1 comes and goes and I don’t give it a second thought except to remember my niece’s birthday.  I don’t remember what day I experienced my first kiss.  I don’t remember a lot of corner turning days in my life.  This is strange because my family teases me for my memory.  I usually remember things based on what I was wearing. 

A major corner turning, new chapter in my life kind of day is May 28, 2007.  And not because it’s Dawn and Barry’s anniversary.  This is the day we started our life in California.  I blogged for the first time on this day. 

My posts started out short and were filled with inappropriate information.  Like exactly where I lived!  It took several posts before I started to add pictures.  A couple of the early posts with pictures had the picture added after I posted.  Then I figured it out. 

For the fun of it let’s take a pictorial walk down memory lane. 

On May 5, 2007 we took family photos.  Gavin was 3 and Parker was 21 months. 

Candi's-pre-bridals-003

May 19, I spent the day with my mom, my sister, her fiancĂ©, and their friend at the Vernal Temple. 

moving-boxes

May 23, our house was boxed up.  We found out the buyers on our house backed out. 

May 24, Candi and Ed were married in the Bountiful Temple.  I have no good pictures of this event. 

moving-truck

May 25, everything was loaded onto the truck.  We spent the night at a local hotel and left Utah the next morning.

Bonneville-Salt-Flats

May 26, we drove to Truckee, CA.  This picture was taken at the Bonneville Salt Flats in UT.  I had two tiny boys and only dreams of a third child. 

Parker-bed Gavin-bed

May 27, we arrived at the beautifully furnished apartment being provided to us as corporate housing. 

Monday May 28 was Memorial Day.  Our first full day in San Francisco, where we started our California Adventure.  That night Heath set up my blog.  I sat on the floor in front of a glass coffee table with ornate black iron legs and typed my first post.  The rest is history. 

In the last three years of living in CA I have documented our lives in 911 posts on this blog.  If you count this post it’s 912.  I started another blog in January 2010 with a count of 75 posts total there.  Not all 75 posts are original since many of them were copied over from here to quickly build my reputation with Google. 

I have taught a blogging class in my home.  People in my ward think I’m good at blogging because I manage to write something nearly every day.  Most of the class participants have started their own blogs.  Many friends have later asked me to set up a blog for them.  I set one up for my sister after she had a preemie.  And to her dismay, I’m sure, I am still a contributor on her blog!  It’s fun to write posts for her every once in a while.  

Both of my blogs are pretty successful considering all I’m doing is writing about my personal life.  I am obsessed with my stats on Google Analytics.  I have made over $30 from my Google Ads.  Still not enough to get paid!  I don’t blog for the money.  It’s just interesting to see what ads come up and see if anyone clicks on them. 

The craziest thing that happened was about a year ago someone put this blog on Mormon Blogosphere.  I am still flattered that one of my readers would do that.  I have a guess as to who it was but I don’t know for sure and my guess is such a beautiful dream it’s what I tell myself happened.  I am in the personal section as The Piquant Storyteller.  It was before I decided to give that name to a separate creative writing blog. 

Over the last three years this blog has had two addresses and three names - The Westovers, The Piquant Storyteller, and now Based on a True Story. 

My life truly changed in miraculous ways on May 28, 2007.  Here’s to more life changes, personal blogging, more Say What posts, I’ve Learned posts, creative writing essays, ranting posts, and everyday life according to Tristan Westover. 

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

Surprise!

What goes around comes around. My family likes to plan as well as fly by the seat of their pants. In the last year I have surprised them with two visits. So I guess it's only fair that they are now surprising us with a visit.

My mom has been talking for the last few weeks about possibly coming to visit us for Memorial Day weekend. She was afraid she couldn't get the time off from work so she said they would come over the fourth of July. The way she's been talking the last couple times we've talked with her, she really sounded like July was it.

Last night the phone rang. Heath answered with his traditional Spanish greeting saved special for my mom. My mom asked what we were doing this weekend and then said they were coming! It's funny because I almost called to ask. But I stopped myself thinking that they would have said something if they were coming.

We are surprised and excited. The kids can't wait to see Grandma, Aunt Candi, Uncle Ed and Baby Isabel. On the way home from school today Parker was saying that "Baby Isabel is a funny baby. She just crawls around and says (in a falcetto voice) 'I need my diaper changed! Wait, no I don't.'" We were all busting a gut over that one.

I need to clean my house! I have to prepare to see my endocrinologist tomorrow. I need to remember to ask my friend, who is babysitting for me, about the beach she loves to go to. I have enough time to do these things if I could just stay focused. Well, at least I know what I need to do. Doing it is the hard part.

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”

beep

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. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

embarrassment, questionable hair gel, cheese at the end of a maze, and a moral to the story

There are a lot of things about being a parent nobody talks about. When I think back on what I knew about parenting and pregnancy in my 20’s, all I knew was that pregnancy meant I would have a cute round belly and that parenting teenagers was challenging.

Nobody told me that some pregnant women have cute round bellies while most women have different shaped bellies, many of which are not cute. Nobody told me I would be one of them.

For some reason women keep the reality of birth a secret. Maybe we’re afraid if women knew what would happen the human race would cease to exist. I also think that in many cases birth, whether natural, drugged up, or by being sliced open with a jagged knife, is so horrifying that women who survive it kind of want other women to be surprised by it too! Misery loves company is not just a saying. And what happens after the kid comes out? Nobody talks about that either. It’s better to let on that new mothers wear white pants and adore their newborn 24/7.

The one thing that does get discussed in one way or another is how embarrassing being a parent can be. Nobody believes it until they’ve been there. Maybe that’s the real reason why we still insist that pregnancy, childbirth, and the first two months postpartum are beautiful things where birds sing sweetly. If we told the truth who would believe us?

Ah, parental embarrassment. That is a bitter drink. I’m not talking about how Reese Witherspoon finally caved and bought her wailing child a cookie because people were staring. I’m talking about real embarrassment. Although Reese may have wanted to die of embarrassment because her child was a real child and cried in public. Who knows. I’m not Reese Witherspoon.

I already had to hold my head high while flipping through sloppy leftover clothing in front of so many curious eyes. For all I know those lost items were lost because kids were so embarrassed their parents forced them to wear it out of the house.

“Where’s the pretty sweater Aunt Ida made you?”
“Oh no. I must have lost it. Darn it.”

As if that wasn’t bad enough. As if I didn’t already take one for the team. This afternoon surpassed it.

I went to school crossing my fingers that Gavin found the jacket. He came out and with twinkling stars in my hopeful eyes I warmly asked Gavin if he got the jacket. No. Did you talk to your teacher? Yes. What did she say? I don’t know. What do you mean you don’t know? I didn’t hear her. How did you not hear her? I don’t know.

Determined not to have to resort to buying a new jacket, I suggested we talk to the office staff. I marched my brood to the office. Parker held the door for me while I pushed Gwen’s stroller into the tiny receiving area of the office. The secretary was obviously multitasking. It’s the end of the day. Everyone wants her attention. She makes eye contact with me.

“Um . . . Gavin left his jacket in the music room on Friday. I don’t know when the music teacher is here. I looked in the Lost and Found this morning and didn’t see it.”
“Just a minute. Let me look up the classroom.”

She performs 20 more tasks at once. I patiently wait while Parker crawls through my legs and Gavin stands as much in the way as humanly possible. Gwen’s munching on pretzels was fine. What was embarrassing about her is the fact that she styled her hair with oranges at lunch today.

Orange-hair-gel-003 Orange-hair-gel-006

Notice the pieces of orange stuck in her bangs and ponytails. And her pinkie finger so delicately held out. Gwen is a precious flower. So glad I put a bib on her. I wouldn’t want her to get messy.

The secretary looks for the right key but can’t find it. So she casually asks the other secretary, and I quote, “This mom thinks a jacket got left in the music room. Can I borrow your keys?”

This mom. Thinks. Really?

She turns to me and says, “I’ll meet you over there.” I agree and ask my boys to open the door for me again so I can maneuver the stroller out. Gavin opens the door, walks out and LETS GO! The door swings back and a mom quickly grabs it before it hits Gwen’s legs. Thanks son.

We get outside and I say, “Where’s your music class?” For the next several pain filled minutes (it was probably only about 7 minutes but it feels like an hour), Gavin wanders.

Let me paint the picture for you. California schools are open. There are few hallways if any. Several buildings house the classrooms with doors that open directly outside. Each classroom has a number as well as a letter indicating which building it’s in. I heard the secretary say the classroom’s letter/number combination. I just didn’t realize it was the same building as the office. I assumed my first grader would know where he was going seeing as how it’s the end of May and all.

He would walk fast then pause and look around. He would reach a set of stairs and quickly go down only to look over his shoulder to see me wheeling the stroller somewhere else. I can’t do stairs. Part of me thought that it was only 5 steps at the most. I could take the stroller down that or carry it if I had to. I’m glad I didn’t. Gavin had no idea where he was going. We wandered around like a mouse in a maze looking for the cheese. Walk. Stop. Smell. Change directions. Whine. Repeat.

Heath said that he took the kids to McDonald’s while I was visiting my family. He said he felt like the mother duck with her little ducklings following. He would walk,they would follow. He would stop,they would trip over each other and bump into his legs. Watch this video and imagine Gavin is the mother duck while Parker, Gwen and I are the ducklings.

video

As the embarrassment increased I thought of inappropriate things to say like where in the . . . world is your class? How do you not know where it is?

He tried to walk back to his own classroom trying to remember how he gets to music. We finally got there. It was one door over from the office door. But since we walked the opposite way we didn’t see that. The door was locked. My patience was rapidly running out. We went next door back into the office.

The secretary looked surprised and confused all at the same time. I apologized saying Gavin couldn’t remember where it was. Way to throw the kid under the bus Mom! She said she grabbed whatever she could find in the room and were any of the jackets mine. Yes I said.

A heavenly spotlight shone on the red jacket, illuminating it in an ethereal way. I grabbed it and stuffed it in the stroller basket thanking the secretary for her help. And we drove home.

The moral of the story? Kids cannot go back into a mother’s body once they have come out. They are short and inexperienced. Patience is a virtue. Blogging keeps me from selling my offspring on eBay. I wouldn’t even consider Craig’s List. I would get shot! And last but not least, time heals all wounds. This story is now funny to me.

Rack of Shame

Hundreds of years ago people really got into public humiliation.  So far nothing has changed.  Sure we don’t pack a picnic to see someone beheaded.  Nobody schedules time around ridiculing a person locked in the stocks.  We don’t stitch scarlet letters onto sinner’s clothing. 

However, we do watch the news.  We read tabloid magazines while waiting in the check out line.  And we join social media sites to gossip. 

Recently I heard about a story where a judge ordered shoplifters to wear a sign around their necks while standing in front of the store they robbed.  One woman tried to play the sympathy card by wearing a sign that said, “I stole milk for my baby.”  She stole more than just the milk. 

One man was belligerent to the store’s shoppers and passers by in an attempt to appear stoic and unaffected by his sentence.   Deep down he was completely humiliated.  He never shoplifted again and has done everything he can to convince young people to turn away from a life of crime. 

I have seen another subtle form of public humiliation at the local elementary school. 

The Rack of Shame.

Where we live in California has variable temperatures.  The mornings start off cool only to warm up quickly.  It’s no wonder the school has such an abundance of leftover forgotten sweaters.  Significantly more than what would fit in a box in the front office.  What does the school do about it? 

They hang the clothes on two different clothes racks.  The racks are wheeled outside most mornings for students to claim their lost items.  Then the racks are wheeled back into the multipurpose room once the students go into class. 

Lost clothing has always mystified me.  The random shoe or sock forlornly sitting in the street.  A sweater soaked with rain after being forgotten and trampled over repeatedly.  How do you miss that?  Who puts on a pair of socks and shoes and doesn’t notice when one goes missing?  The sweater is a little more understandable as the weather can change so dramatically around here.  AM 50’s typically turn into PM 90’s in the spring and summer.  Just not now because we are still experiencing winter rain every week. 

It’s human to forget.  So the school does what they can to help out the humans.  The last week of school they take the unclaimed clothes and display them across the chain link fence at the back of the school yard.  No scarlet letter necessary.  Grabbing something off the fence is bad enough. 

Gavin forgot his jacket on Friday.  When I picked him up I noticed he wasn’t wearing it but that’s typical Gavin.  It was cold and windy but he’s Gavin.  I thought of asking him.  I kick myself for suppressing the impulse.  I thought he had it.  Little did I know he had accidentally left it in the music room.  

He wore his coat today.  It’s a cold 61 degrees right now.  I’m surprised it got that warm with the ominous clouds.  Today is supposed to be the nicest day this week. 

The plan was for him to talk to his teacher about what happened and I would check with the office staff about it.  When we got there the Rack of Shame was out.  The bell rang so I told Gavin to wait in line. 

It was the same feeling I have every time I go to Ross or TJ Maxx or any of those stores.  No two items were the same.  It’s possible the sweaters and jackets were hung lovingly by the yard duty but there was this overwhelming feeling of embarrassed carelessness.  The clothes looked so pathetic.  “Pick me.  Pick me.  I haven’t been home in weeks.”  

I have also never seen a child looking through the Rack of Shame.  Just parents.  The kids know their parents will bail them out of their predicament.  I felt so on display right in front of the entire student body waiting in line as I sifted through their forgotten clothes. 

The jacket wasn’t there.  I knew it wouldn’t be.  I could tell before I got to the racks that it wasn’t there.  I looked just in case it was caught between all the sweatshirts.  Nope.  I made my way back to Gavin and told him I couldn’t find it so he needed to tell his teacher what happened anyway and see if he could find it.  I’m hoping the music teacher noticed and returned it to his classroom.  We’ll see. 

I just know the little red jacket is crumpled in a corner with rumpled spirits hoping that Gavin will soon find it.  For now it has been spared the indignity of the Rack of Shame.  I haven’t.

The question is while other ancient and modern forms of public humiliation are successful, is the Rack of Shame a good idea?  Shaming parents doesn’t necessarily transfer to a change in student behavior.   

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Heath

Nobody was swept away in the ocean.  We didn’t sit on the cracked kitchen linoleum eating Subway sandwiches before going back to house renovations.  It didn’t rain, but it wasn’t warm either.  I hope it was more than just another Saturday. 

He is patient, kind and unassuming.  He gives to others with no thought of return.  He loves unconditionally with his whole heart, saving nothing for later. 

His birthday has never been the party he deserves.  Yet he always makes sure mine is. 

He is impossible to buy for so I don’t.  I tell him what I want him to have and make him get it.  I’m such a catch!  He doesn’t mind.  At least he doesn’t say he minds.  I think he loves the hunt more than the kill.  Researching the best product for the best deal is what he lives for.  Who am I to take that away from him?  A card with a line or two saying, “For your birthday I want you to get . . .” seems to work for us. 

One year I surprised him.  I bought The Barbecue Bible by Steven Raichlen.  Not only that but I bought it online!  With minimal help.  He was impressed.  I don’t know if he cares about the book.  I tried to get something that would be useful to his passion and expertise in grilling.  That year it was the thought that counted most. 

Somehow showing our love for the most important man in our lives still felt self serving.  He suggested lunch at Mr. Pickle’s Sandwich Shop.  He likes the sandwiches.  The kids are in love with Mr. Pickle, an employee dressed in a huge oversized pickle costume holding a sign for the cute little sandwich cafe.  The kids could not wait for lunch time. 

He started one of the Star Wars movies.  Three little ones immediately snuggled up to him sneaking their way under his blanket.  The movie was enhanced with “I love you Daddy!”  “Are you having a happy birthday?”  “When will it be lunchtime?” as well as my heavy footsteps upstairs while I worked out with my cartoon trainer Julio. 

We walked to Mr. Pickle’s.  One mile in the blustery wind up and one mile back.  At home we ate the cookies from lunch then headed back out to the park so the kids could play.  Not much of a date but it was very romantic anyway.  Nothing compares to sitting close to the one you love, holding hands, in awe of the children you created together, and dreaming of the future. 

My birthday gift to him was pizza.  Money is tight as we save for trips and visitors.  He told me not to get him anything.  I wanted so badly to do something special.  He means everything to me.  What could I do for the one who does so much for me? 

It came to me.  Pizza.  I hate pizza.  To my family’s disappointment it is true.  My family eats it every time I’m out of town or out to dinner with other people.  They are pizza deficient because of me.  With my mad money I gave the gift of pizza.  He said he wanted the full pizza experience.  So we braved the winterish temperatures again to enjoy Round Table Pizza. 

He thinks he’s getting old.  I don’t agree.  He has been blessed with a baby face and blond hair.  He holds his age well.  I don’t really think of age when I think of us.  Age is frozen in time.  He may as well be the 25 year old I met at my grandparents house.  Age is just a number we recalculate once a year on our birthday. 

Maybe time has aged us.  I refuse to see the physical effects of time.  Time has made us grow.  Closer.  Wiser.  So unbelievably in love it’s funny we ever thought we were in love years ago! 

Happy birthday to my perfect man.  Thanks for sharing your day with us. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Oakland Zoo

Heath and Gavin were on one side of the freeway in Oakland.  I will explain why later.  On the other side of the freeway in Oakland, I spent the day at the Oakland Zoo with my friend Sheila and the kids she babysits. We originally planned to go to Tilden Park but the trains don’t run until the middle of June. So we met some other friends from the ward at the zoo.

Parker was nervous about going to the zoo because I am the most un-American stay at home mom. I don’t take my kids to the zoo on a regular basis. The last time we went was three years ago when we lived in San Francisco. We went with my aunt, uncle and cousins to the San Francisco Zoo.

Since Parker hadn’t even turned two years old yet when we went, he didn’t remember the experience. He wasn’t sure what to expect this time. He is developing a pretty radical dog phobia that is spilling into a fear of all animals. I tried to explain how the zoo would work. I think he had a hard time picturing it.  Gwen, on the other hand, couldn’t wait to see the animals. 

Parker said he didn’t want to see any bad animals.  He specifically mentioned tigers.  I couldn’t help but think of the 2007 Christmas Day tiger mauling at SF Zoo that resulted in the death of a 17 year old boy and the 4 year old tiger that killed him.  I reminded myself that the boy and his friends were drunk and high taunting the tiger.  They got what their behavior deserved.  Sorry, but it’s true. 

We got to the Oakland Zoo and Parker and Gwen were pretty excited. I think Parker relaxed when he saw where the animals were in relation to himself. All the excitement, the anticipation, the heat, the smells, the crowds, all of it overwhelmed Parker. He announced he needed to throw up. I did not know what to do. I thought he was being dramatic. I hoped so anyway.

I got out his water bottle I packed for lunch and told him to take small sips. He sipped a little and then we moved across the little zoo pathway to see some monkeys. That’s when I heard Parker retching. Then saw him puking. I steered him toward the bushes to finish his business.

His whole body was an unnatural white color and his lips were a bluish gray. Hmmm. Sheila drove us. We had only been at the zoo for maybe 30 minutes at that point. What to do? We stayed. I ended up pushing Parker in the stroller while Gwen sat in Sheila’s double stroller with Ryan. Tyler walked up the hills and stood on the stroller step if he was tired of walking.

Who was the zoo kidding with those hills? Sheila was definitely getting a workout pushing two or three kids around. I felt my butt and hamstrings on every hill. I never felt bad that I didn’t get a chance to work out that morning but after walking all day and pushing a sick boy who will turn five soon, I got my work out!

The good news is Parker perked up pretty quickly after tossing his cookies.  It could have been worse. 

We saw most of the animal exhibits. The most amazing and horrifying exhibit for me was the bats. Those things were huge! Imagine Gwen hanging upside down with fleshy wings attached to her arms. That’s about what the bats looked like. We walked into this building to get to the bats. There was a sign by the door reminding people to stay quiet and not to touch the netting inside.

I have been places where you open the door to a building and birds or butterflies fly around my head. The sign by the door says don’t keep the door open long or the animals will fly out. I really expected to see bats out in the open. I was a little apprehensive. The bats were behind a kind of chain link fence on the other side of the building. Thank heavens because, like I said, those things were the size of a toddler. They were majestic, amazing, and creepy all at the same time.  I get chills just thinking about them! 

Gwen liked the lizard, frog, and snake house best. But every time I ask what her favorite part was she says the giraffes.  Parker liked the sun bears best. The last thing we did was pay for tickets to ride the train. I thought it was strange that the train cost money and that it didn’t even go in the zoo. It kind of went behind the zoo and you could see people standing around looking at animals but you couldn’t see any animals from the train.

There were animal statues like a snake and some alligators. The only real animals we saw from the train were Australian animals you can only see from the train. We saw emus and kangaroos. Gwen couldn’t care less that there was anything to look at. She was just happy to be on a train. That girl loves trains! She also waved at all the people which was really cute.

I made sure to get a map for Parker.  I used to save maps for scrapbooks but Parker loves to look at the maps.  He likes to see what there is to to do while we’re there and he likes to see how to get around.  When we get home he will relive the experience for days by looking at the map. 

The sun beat down on us all day and I have a lovely farmer sunburn/tan.  That happened at the SF Zoo too.  It must be a zoo thing!  The kids somehow escape the concentrated rays of the sun, thank heavens.  I forgot sunscreen and I didn’t think it would be so warm anyway. 

It was a fun day in Oakland!

Did I Miss Anything?

by Tom Wayman

Questions frequently asked by
students after missing a class

Nothing.  When we realized you weren’t here
we sat with our hands folded on our desks
in silence, for the full two hours

Everything.  I gave an exam worth
40 percent of the grade for this term
and assigned some reading due today
on which I’m about to hand out a quiz
worth 50 percent. 

Nothing.  None of the content of this course
has value or meaning
Take as many days off as you like:
any activities we undertake as a class
I assure you will not matter either to you or me
and are without purpose.

Everything.  A few minutes after we began last time
a shaft of light descended and an angel
or other heavenly being appeared
and revealed to us what each woman or man must do
to attain divine wisdom in this life and
the hereafter.
This is the last time the class will meet
before we disperse to bring this good news to all people on earth.

Nothing.  When you are not present
how could something significant occur?

Everything.  Contained in this classroom
is a microcosm of human existence
assembled for you to query and examine and ponder
This is not the only place such an opportunity has been gathered

but it was one place

And you weren’t here

 

~     ~     ~

 

I have tried to take a blogcation.  I have failed.  Diabetes Blog Week took up a colossal amount of my time, I forgot what day it was on Thursday last week and looked at Gavin’s completed homework packet for the first time all week! 

GET OUT OF THE BLOGOSPHERE!!!!  There’s real people in your home that love you and need you.  Spend time with them. 

So I did.  But I can’t keep from writing about my life with my family. 

Yesterday we spent the day in Oakland, just not all together.  I started writing the story but haven’t posted it yet.  Now I am taking my kids to the playground again to meet our friends like we do every Friday.  The Oakland posts will have to wait. 

Did I miss anything?  It turns out I did and I didn’t.  I have to remember my audience.  I write for me, my children, and my extended family.  But I live for these people first. 

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. 

TERMITES! 

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. 

Series of Unfortunate/Fortunate Events

I got this email from my sister in law this morning about an "epic bike accident" my brother was in. I will let her tell the story in her own words:

"Yesterday there was a serious of unfortunate/fortunate events:

Unfortunately Tyson wrecked on his bike on the way home from work.
Fortunately he was not hit by a car. The road was slick. His bike tire hit the lip of the road where the asphalt meets the gutter and he lost control.

Unfortunately his body hit a stopped car when he went down.
Fortunately it was our neighbors across the street. They were obviously concerned and offered him a ride home.

Unfortunately his bike did not fit in their vehicle.
Fortunately his adrenalin got him home.

Unfortunately Tyson bled on my newly mopped floor.
Fortunately I was home to administer what ever first aid I knew. My volunteering in the ER at the hospital has helped me to stay calm when I saw the blood.

Unfortunately I did not know how to treat his injuries besides stopping the bleeding.
Fortunately Sharon was home and willing to come assess the damages.





Unfortunately his injuries required us to go to urgent care.
Fortunately we have good insurance and only had a $15.00 co-pay, plus the wait was not 3 hours at urgent care.

Unfortunately the doctor was concerned he had fractured his elbow.
Fortunately the x-ray showed no fracture.

Unfortunately he needed stitches for his elbow and the position they had him lay in was very uncomfortable.




Fortunately the doctor was surprised the injury on his elbow wasn't as deep as she thought initially. He only had 3 stitches.

Unfortunately Tyson is sore all over and Calvin says he walks like Yoda.
Fortunately he is alive and back to work today!


Hope your day is a series of FORTUNATE events!"
Wow! I hope my brother is ok. I know he's probably really proud of his wounds. That's the kind of person he is.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Apprehension

So I finished filling out the paperwork for the Pre K Summer Program. I am actually ready to not send it at all. I know there was a lot of papers to fill out when Gavin did it but some of the papers this time around seem really personal.

The "Nutrition Packet", as it was described to me over the phone is an application for free or reduced meals from the school district. The school district does not need to know how much money we make. We will not qualify! I never even considered asking.

There was a voluntary form that if I signed it I was giving consent for them to share information with his pediatrician and other professionals. It seemed really strange and Heath told me not to sign it. I agreed.

There was some paper talking about how he could be referred to a specialist. I could request that the teacher make a referral or the teacher could just decide to make one based on observations of Parker. Then the specialist would contact me to set up a meeting. Nothing to sign on that page. Just a really bad feeling. I don't want to do this anymore. It feels like the assumption is we didn't send Parker to preschool or day care because we can't afford it and he has some sort of academic or behavioral challenges as a result. Heath says to do it anyway but I'm feeling kind of strange about it all. Maybe it's just an overreaction based on the kindergarten year we had where it became clear that parents are not members of the team that determines a student's best interest.

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

BEEEEE BOOO BEEEE BOOO BEEEE BOOO

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.

Photographic Evidence

Isn't that how blogging works? It's not enough to talk about something. There has to be photographic evidence to back up the story. Some sort of proof that you were there. I should never be in charge of photographing an event. I'm sure if Heath was scrunched on bleachers with a 4 year old on one side and a 2 year old in his lap, he could still do a much better job than I did.

Oh well. It is what it is. The following are the only good pictures of Gavin's First Grade Sing-along.


I tried to fix as many red eyes as I could but there's a lot of kids and I kind of like the demon looks they all seem to have. Gavin actually looks pretty normal in this picture. The typical Gavin smile that is rarely captured on camera. My favorite part of this picture is the little girl in the front row with her finger up her nose. Classic first grade pose!

The music teacher started the show explaining a few things and then he said that at the end of the show parents were invited to stand closer to get close up shots of their kids as long as they didn't fill their digital card! This is what I got from Gavin.

I was off to the side trying to steer Gwen and Parker out of the way. I quickly snapped twice and got these amazing pictures. The quality is so good I think I should enter them in a contest or something. And isn't Gavin's smile the best? That should land him a career as a magazine model at least.
I also took some video.

video


The camera is shaking like I've had a little too much Diet Coke. For as much as Gavin goes on and on about he loves his music class, he knew very few words. I think he knows more but the whole experience made him act weird.

video

Gwen got tired of my lap. I'm sorry I ever put her on my lap. Before the whole thing started Gwen was getting bored. I put her on my lap for a moment. The second I did this mom swooped in and sat down next to Parker. Actually, she almost sat on Parker. We had to move down quite a bit to give her and her son room. She didn't know the mom on the other side of her. I was surprised that happened the way it did, especially with no polite words or any words at all. Just plunking herself down next to us. I decided not to hold a grudge when I saw so many parents and younger siblings standing along the perimeter of the room. There weren't enough seats for everyone on the bleachers.

Wow. That was a tangent! Before I got sidetracked I was going to say that Gwen was bored on my lap after her fruit snacks were gone. Man, I love being diabetic because I would have never thought to have a purse full of snacks for my kids unless I needed them for myself! She got down and started dancing. It was pretty entertaining. We had fun watching Gavin. He was so proud to see us in the audience.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Piquant Post

This is my life in random, disconnected snippets of rage. I apologize in advance for the ranting post. A blogger I often disagree with but highly respect says that blogging is like howling at the moon only quieter. Very true . . .

Another parent survey. Another innocent volunteer with seared eyeballs because I was completely honest. I got an email from the school district asking parents to fill out an anonymous online survey regarding homework.

My response on the survey:

“I understand the purpose of homework but my first grader has been up to his eyeballs in homework since kindergarten when he had a teacher who demanded hours of homework that half the time were useless busy work.

At least this year the homework is a review of concepts taught at school. However, I feel that there is too much homework. My child is not involved in extra curricular activities because we don't have time after homework. My child almost never has time for flash card math facts, which are highly encouraged by his teacher.

I feel the strict curriculum requirements in this state are age inappropriate for the students. Homework being the icing on that unnecessary cake.”

I will try to keep my language in check as I type this post! But I have never wanted to move out of this state more than when it comes to matters of school. I have never before been so barraged by extreme liberal perspectives all over the news. Never before have I known parents to coddle their children's every move and hover over them the way parents here do. Never before have I felt like an outcast for wanting to be a mother. Parents around here have one or two kids and the first chance they get they enroll them into preschool followed by three or more extra curricular activities. This frees parents up to micromanage each child individually.

The definition of a soccer mom is driving one’s children all over kingdom come to participate in this, that, and the other. Kids don’t get a chance to be kids anymore. Around here, they don’t even get five years to be a kid. It’s more like 18 months. This state is so full of soccer moms living vicariously through their children it’s disgusting.

Parents around here mask a fear of raising their own children by believing their children are well rounded and education is the most important thing in their family. Sending a child to kindergarten for three hours and expecting 1.5 hours of homework afterwards is ludicrous. Now I have a first grader who attends school for 6.5 hours and spends 2-3 hours on homework every night. There is no time for flash cards or any of the extras his teachers would like every student to do.

I will admit he does not spend the entire 2-3 hours steadily working. So the homework is not too difficult. It’s just annoying that he has to do it. He doesn’t want to do it. I don’t blame him.

We heard about the Science Fair 3 weeks to the day before the actual Science Fair date. Being so busy with other work has caused us to forget all about “this highly encouraged activity.”

Children these days are so overscheduled and so overworked and stressed out trying to please the adults in their lives it is no wonder there is so much childhood obesity. Fast food is easy when you only have five minutes in the car between piano practice, dance class, and a soccer game. It is no wonder Type 1 diabetes is on the rise as well. Oh yeah. I just said that and I mean it.

I read an article several months ago where a Type 1 author pointed out how curious it was that children in well to do neighborhoods are contracting Type 1 diabetes like some epidemic. His opinion was that Americans have never been hungry. Our bodies bring it on. Hogwash! Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder meaning the body attacks the hormones it produces. This is brought on by illness or stress. Stress. Do you think today’s American children are stressed? I think so.

He described a neighborhood where in the course of about a year, eight children were diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Eight! That’s a lot for one neighborhood. My guess is the parents wanted the best for their kids and enrolled them in many activities. What a price to pay for over scheduling but I think we are.

A city in California, I wish I could remember the name of it, is trying to ban toys in kids meals. Why? Because America is fat and how dare we hook kids on junk food with enticing toys! I say How dare parents be so stupid they forget to say no! Who’s in charge here? What idiot goes to McDonald’s for the crappy toy? They go there because it’s easy. Because they sired offspring and society tells us education is important so let’s teach kindergarteners a second grade curriculum to keep up. In addition to the valuable importance of an age inappropriate education, it’s also necessary to have your child involved in everything, paying hundreds of dollars to do it. No wonder Americans face the social problems we do!

Rather than berate schools for shoddy PE programs, if they have one at all, or mandating how many minutes a week students should move, how about we slow down on academic expectations and let kids do what comes naturally? It just seems that when kids are born we try so hard to get them to walk and talk as soon as possible only to tell them to sit down and shut up as soon as they get to school.

This post doesn’t even make sense. I am just so over so many things! The anonymous parent survey about homework tipped me over the edge. I apologize. I will back to nice and happy later.

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!